Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Port of Calais Opens New Freight Truck Facilities to Increase Road Haulage Driver Security

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FRANCE – UK – With the recent surge in violence experienced by road haulage drivers in Calais as they make their way into Britain, the Port of Calais has now opened its new, smart reception area for trucks that will supposedly ensure a more secure passage to Dover. Currently security is the greatest concern for drivers with freight companies and industry associations calling for more to be done by the relevant authorities on either side of the border to protect UK-bound lorries.

According to the Port of Calais, the new reception and sorting process site will optimise the arrival of the 1.9 million trucks that use the French port each year and is meant to substantially reduce the waiting time for lorries. Featuring 15 lanes over the area of 4 hectares trucks should now be more efficiently directed lane by lane to the different checkpoints which are directly accessible from the A16 and A26. Drivers can now also free WiFi throughout the port area.

The decision to put into operation the new equipment allowing the arrival of up to 300 heavy-weight trucks at the same time was taken in late 2015 as part of the Port’s security measures. Convinced of the necessity of upscaling security in what is the busiest of the cross-channel freight ports to Britain, the Port of Calais says it mobilised its team and completed the construction after only four months. Vehicle types will be segregated on arrival optimising flow management and there will be up to 1,100 secure HGV locations available.

The Port says that the facility is highly secure with the help of a CCTV system and new security fences, due for completion by the end of September though how truly impenetrable the site is, and for how long the zone stays clear of those trying to enter the UK illegally remains to be seen, as migrants really willing to enter the UK have so far not been very subtle about their intentions as our previous articles illustrate (Enter Calais into the News Search Box for more background).

This mention of a ‘secure fence’ is thought to refer to the €2.7 million, 4 metre high concrete wall which Britain is set to construct and due to run for a kilometre along the dual carriageway leading into the port where so many of the attacks on drivers have taken place. Work on the wall was due to commence this week but French press reports say this has been put back to September.

Locals around the port have criticised its construction as a waste of money, saying nothing will stop the attempts to flee to Britain and even accused the authorities of putting lives at risk by increasing security, as when the lowlands were flooded to dissuade migrants from encroaching on port territory.

Photo: Artists impression of how the new traffic system works.