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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Better news from Calais: but will it last?

Jan 29, 2017
The vital cross-Channel ferry and tunnel routes for international lorry traffic appear to be returning to normal. However, the concern remains that the situation may change if the increased security measures at the port are not maintained.

Removal of the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp appears to have been effective in greatly reducing the local threat to drivers, vehicles and loads and Calais appears to be getting back to normal both for local residents and for the lorry drivers using the port. Operators who switched away from the Dover Straits are cautiously re-appraising their decision and some are starting to return.

“It’s good to be able to say something really positive about Calais,” said Road Haulage Association (RHA) Chief Executive Richard Burnett. “We will of course continue to monitor the situation closely. The key is to ensure that the ‘Jungle’ camp is not allowed to be re-established. The problems over the past two years have been awful for everyone – including the migrants, desperate to get to the UK by whatever means possible.”

However, on a recent fact-finding visit to the port, the RHA reported the overall concern of those UK-bound HGV drivers was that the current situation, although very welcome, may be short lived.

The problem of migrants trying to get into UK-bound trucks remains, but for now, the Calais area is no longer such a migrant hot-spot. The threat is now more dispersed but it appears that organised gangs are still active in trying to get migrants on-board vehicles when they park for breaks.

“The RHA has been working with the UK Border Force on gathering intelligence on the migrants and the criminal gangs who often direct them and we will continue to do so,” concluded Richard Burnett.

Photo: The Great Wall of Calais under construction

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