‘Nothing being done’ to prevent another Calais crisis

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags France Uk

The government wont prevent another Calais Crisis said the SSA
The government wont prevent another Calais Crisis said the SSA
Nothing is being done to protect UK food and drink firms from damage caused by another Calais crisis, according to the Scottish Seafood Association (SSA).

Protests at fuel refineries this week have left petrol stations in the Calais region with little to no fuel, stranding UK truck drivers. The Industrial action came exactly 12 months after striking French ferry workers left the port in chaos last year.

The SSA – the national representative body for the Scottish seafood processing and trading sectors –said motorway blockades and protests that have left UK lorries without fuel in France are “nothing new”​.

SSA chairman David Leiper told FoodManufacture.co.uk​ that it was a problem that happens every year, but there is never any help from the UK and European governments.

He said: “The problem is that we have shouted about this so many times over the years and nothing ever really happens.

“You just wait until it’s resolved and almost take it on the chin. There’s no help from British government or the European government.

Wait, lose money’

“We all just have to wait, lose money and they get what they​ [the protestors] want from the French government no matter what.”

The effect on the seafood industry was hugely detrimental, said Leiper. Delays caused by lorries taking alternative routes into France were a huge cost, “the same as when there were problems with the Euro Tunnel”.

Drivers with companies represented by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) – which include businesses in the food and drink sector – have been unable to refuel or forced to buy limited amounts of diesel.

Tony Henderson, a lorry driver affected, said: “If you can’t get fuel, you can’t move and if you have a full tank then you’re a sitting target for thieves. It’s a catch 22.”

Situation to get worse

The FTA expected the situation to get worse as protests, over a new French bill – which will lengthen the standard work week to 48 hours from 35 hours – continue to affect to region.

It’s not something that’s going to end very quickly,” ​the FTA told FoodManufacture.co.uk. “We’re hearing from our members they’ve had to go to four or five different petrol stations before they can find fuel.

“We’ve seen motors being pushed off forecourts and running out of fuel on the side of the road.”

Drivers have been warned to fill up on fuel before travelling to France.

FTA deputy chief executive James Hookham said the chaos in Calais last year should not be repeated. “The damage caused to our members was far-reaching and this can’t happen again,” ​said Hookham.

Related topics Business Food safety

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