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Bad weather and ship shortages led to long ques at Calais and Dunkirk

Posted on Monday, April 4th by Pallet2ship logo

The recent delays were the result of a shortage of ferries and bad weather on Friday and overnight, and also of the measures implemented to control the movement of HGVs in the area.

The Port of Dover’s capacity was already affected due to the suspension of P&O services, with three of the company's vessels at berth there.

The port said the main roads were "very busy" on Saturday morning and advised the passengers to expect delays to their journey.

Dover MP Natalie Elphicke declared that the delays are related to P&O Ferries, and warned the disruption is expected to last for the next few days.

"The traffic disruption caused by P&O's actions is very serious. Coupled with adverse weather conditions and the Easter get-away traffic, the situation has become severe. This can be expected to continue for the next few days," she said.The situation has worsened after a DFDS ship hit a berth in Dunkirk on Thursday evening, due to high winds, and had to be taken out of service.

According to DFDS Ferries, the ship is currently being repaired and is expected to return to service on Monday or Tuesday. The company also declared that all of its services were affected.

DFDS Ferries stated it expects its full fleet to be back in service from early next week. Also, the number of tourists travelling to Kent for Easter was also said to be contributing to the jams.

Drivers had to wait for hours to board ferries after measures were taken to control the movement of HGVs in the area.

A part of the M20 is being used to park lorries, which represents the cause of the congestion, with miles of backed up stationary vehicles.

Lorries heading to Dover are allowed to use one side of the M20, as part of Operation Brock,  while all other traffic is restricted to a contraflow system on the opposite side.

The traffic management system was implemented to control the lorries displaced by the lack of P&O services, due to a dispute about the company's decision to sack 800 British workers.

DFDS Ferries urged the travellers to go to the port of Dover and check in as they would normally do, saying they will then be shipped on the next available sailing.

In the meantime, local residents were advised to avoid driving through the area where possible.

The bus operator Stagecoach said its local services were experiencing significant disruption due to the traffic stretching into the town centre.
Many of the people stuck in the queues have missed the ferry service they had booked but operators have been letting them on to later journeys.

Nick Gale, a teacher from Kent who is travelling with his family to Calais for a trip to Amsterdam, said they have been stuck for "over two hours" and missed the ferry they were booked on.

"No communication at all from port staff. Policeman said it was basically the perfect storm, less ferries... plus bad weather and (the) P&O issue," he said.

British-based Ukrainians Oleg Kupin and Eugene Chernov said they expected to miss their slot. They were travelling to Kharkiv in Ukraine with a truck full of aid, including drones, thermal telescopes, and radios to be used in rescue missions."It's frustrating and we hope that it will be resolved as soon as possible because we need it," Mr. Kupin said. "Our country, our people need it."

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: "We are aware of queues at Dover, and the Kent Resilience Forum and local partners are working to minimise any disruption by deploying temporary traffic management measures as standard.

"This has been caused by a number of factors, including severe weather in the Channel."

Source: Sky News

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