The Freight Transport Association (FTA), the UK’s largest membership association for the freight and logistics sector, has urged the government to lobby the French authorities to protect drivers passing through the Calais area, following reports of increased migrant activity targeting lorries approaching the port.
According to driver reports, rubbish bins were placed on the entry to the Port of Calais on Sunday night (21 May), and vehicles were attacked with stones, as migrants attempted to board lorries travelling towards the port. A Czech driver was taken to hospital with minor injuries, and police quickly dispersed the migrants involved. FTA members estimate that approximately 700 migrants have returned to the Port of Calais region, following the closure of the Jungle camp in October 2016.
“The French and British governments need to work together to solve the migrant issue at Calais, both for the safety of our drivers and also for those migrants who have returned to the area,” says Pauline Bastidon, Head of European Policy at the FTA. “There is a need for urgent action by the French government to ensure that the area is policed adequately, and to protect drivers transporting goods, so that trade can continue to flow freely between France and the UK. We are seeking immediate talks with the French police and government in the Calais area to ensure the continued safety of our members in undertaking their daily tasks.
“Meanwhile, FTA urges members to take extra care when moving goods to and from the port areas, and to be extremely vigilant on the approach roads to Calais.”
Up to 9,000 migrants were said to be living in the Jungle camp, which was closed in October 2016, with residents dispersed to other parts of France.