Wednesday, March 27, 2013

French Port Control Officers to Strike Tomorrow and Disrupt RoRo Freight Ferry Crossings

Warnings of Potential Delays as Talks Fail
Shipping News Feature

FRANCE – UK – After failed pay talks, cross-Channel Ferry operator, P&O, has warned its freight customers of a national day of industrial action commencing at 08.00 (07.00 UK) Thursday 28 March which is likely to affect the majority of ports in France. Although unclear as to the kind of action that will be held by French port control officers, the company has alerted its customers of the potential for long delays between Thursday morning and Saturday morning due to the likely knock-on effect of the disruption and queuing.

Freight customers are being advised to try and arrive at the respective port of embarkation as early as possible in order to remain ahead of any potential delays. For departures from Calais this would be around 06.00 and for Dover 05.00 on 28 March (cleared through immigration and check-in and ready for loading). In a statement, the company said:

“It is as yet unclear as to the kind of action that will be held which may vary from a 'go slow' to a temporary or total suspension of services for a 24 hour period. Bar a last minute breakthrough in the negotiations we must assume that there could be disruption to the cross- Channel services between Dover and Calais and the other French Channel ports.

“We regret that our information cannot be more specific at this point but we will obviously [provide updates] as details become available. The company is in close contact with the French authorities and the British government in a bid to exert political pressure to resolve the dispute.”