Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Road Haulage Body Wants Review of Fines on Freight Drivers Found with Illegal Migrants

Increase in Number of Penalties Shows Issue at Crisis
Shipping News Feature
UK – The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has called for a complete review of the fining regime for truck drivers and companies found with illegal immigrants hiding in their vehicles once crossing from Europe to the UK after newly released figures show a 12% increase in the number of penalties issued to hauliers. RHA Chief Executive Richard Burnett said:

“The situation has now escalated to the point where the frustration on the part of migrants and the ever increasing number of violent attacks has reached the stage where the drivers themselves are, in effect, having to police their own vehicles to establish if a migrant incursion has occurred. This cannot be right. The Clandestine Civil Penalty scheme to tackle lax and careless operators was introduced in 1999 at a time when the number of illegal migrants heading towards the UK was considerably less. The playing field has now changed and we believe that the scheme is outdated and must be reviewed.

“These latest figures clearly show that the situation on the other side of the Channel is getting worse. We are getting regular reports from members making the Calais/Dover crossing that despite the ‘Jungle’ being dismantled last October, the number of migrants intent on reaching the UK is increasing.”

Burnett also pointed out that the mutual trade and economies of Europe and the UK are inextricably linked through the huge amounts of road freight that traverse the region and channel ports, and that without proper action being taken to tackle the situation then the economic costs will force that trade to become increasingly expensive. He continued:

“Every day thousands of UK-bound hauliers are suffering because of the migrant mayhem at Calais. Unless President Macron takes strong and immediate action, the economy of the UK, France and the rest of mainland Europe will also suffer.

“These drivers are doing a great job and the economy on both sides of the Channel is massively dependent upon them. However, with the best will in the world, if they have to halt because of migrant action such as that seen last week when a driver was killed, they have no alternative but to stop their vehicles. When that happens they instantly become sitting ducks for the ever-increasing numbers of people-traffickers who are just cashing in on the situation.

“We now regularly hear of hauliers who are throwing in the towel. They just want to do their job - not face regular acts of intimidation or violence. And who can blame them? For those operators who are prepared to carry on regardless, the possibility of fines is immense. And if they are unfortunate enough to become victims of the migrants, they have no alternative but to pass the cost of the fines on to their customers.”