Monday, September 13, 2021

Cross Channel Link to Offer Unaccompanied Trailer Services from This Week

Growing Market Sector Prompts Change to Eurotunnel Portfolio
Shipping News Feature

UK – FRANCE – In what is a logical move given the post Brexit situation, Getlink, the operator of Eurotunnel, is to launch its own cross-Channel service for the shipping of unaccompanied trailers from this week.

As we have pointed out numerous times the trading separation between Britain and the EU was bound to lead to a surge in unaccompanied freight trucks. Coupled with an already precarious situation as HGV drivers have consistently been retiring at a faster rate than trainees entered the profession for some years, a shortage of permits for UK based hauliers added to the problem.

When one includes the delays seen by many imports and exports due to new customs procedures, and the UK government’s stance on not allowing the pool of European drivers from a variety of countries to be allowed to work in the country after Brexit, we are witnessing a ‘perfect storm’.

From September 18 the new cross-Channel freight service will be open to all hauliers and will be managed by Eurotunnel Le Shuttle Freight operating 24 hours a day and six days per week. Departures will be from the Group's two terminals in Calais or Folkestone. The capacity will be 8,300 trailers per year. Getlink says the Eurotunnel Border Pass will allow transporters to speed up the border crossing by digitising their administrative exchanges with the border authorities.

Getlink makes some extravagant claims for the service, pointing out that rail emits 40 times less CO2 than a ferry on the Calais – Sheerness route (it’s probably nearer 12 to 15 times less for Dover – Calais), and that customers can decarbonise whilst they assist the French government’s objectives of doubling the share of rail in freight transport by 2030, plus the UK authorities parameters set for freight in the Green Industrial Revolution plan.

Whilst such promotions are not actually as beneficial as a casual reader might first think, the new service will doubtless have a place in the cross-Channel market, provided the costs are equivalent to, or lower than, those of rival ferry groups. Christian Dufermont, Freight Commercial Director of Eurotunnel commented:

“By offering a new low-carbon, reliable and ultra-secure service, we are responding to a changing demand, and we confirm our determination to be the preferred means of passage for the most demanding logistics chains.”