Millions of pounds of food wasted by Calais crisis

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Calais migrant crisis has led to millions of pounds of fruit and veg being wasted
The Calais migrant crisis has led to millions of pounds of fruit and veg being wasted

Related tags: Supply chain, Truck

Millions of pounds worth of food is being wasted and the whole UK supply chain threatened by the migrant crisis is Calais – which has become like a “warzone” – warns the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

The warning came as striking French workers at the port of Calais brought lorries and cars to a halt yesterday (June 23), prompting illegal migrants to try to board vehicles bound for Britain. 

Freight operators were now counting the cost of spoiled loads and damaged vehicles as their drivers ran the gauntlet of the thousands of migrants camped out in Calais awaiting an opportunity to sneak aboard a lorry, said the FTA.

‘Fruit and vegetables are being dumped’

“Millions of pounds worth of fruit and vegetables are being dumped every month as customers refuse deliveries tainted by stowaway migrants who clamber on board trucks at the port,”​ said the FTA. 

Other cargoes, including drugs bound for Britain’s hospitals, were also being written off for fear of contamination.

FTA member drivers report that Calais has become like a “warzone”,  ​as the French authorities struggle to cope with ever-increasing numbers arriving from North Africa and the Middle East. The migrants’ shanty town camp near the port is thought to number about 3,000.

Calais has become ‘a warzone’

French police report stopping nearly 20,000 migrants from illegally entering Britain so far this year compared with 14,000 for the whole of last year. 

Counting the cost

“Millions of pounds worth of fruit and vegetables are being dumped every month as customers refuse deliveries tainted by stowaway migrants who clamber on board trucks at the port.”​ 

  • Source: FTA

Ferry terminals and Eurotunnel have increased checks on vehicles, which slowed the passage of vehicles, threatens the reliability of the UK supply chain to and from Europe and could increase costs, said the FTA.  

The assocation’s international affairs manager Donald Armour confirmed prices could rise while the supply chain was in danger of collapsing.

“The UK government really must insist on greater proactive involvement by the responsible French authorities,”​ said Armour. “As more lorries are targeted, more goods are written off and the supply chain is jeopardised.

“With an estimated 3,000 migrants now living rough in Calais and the surrounding area, FTA’s principle concern is the safety of drivers attempting to travel through the port and trying to avoid stowaways hitching a ride on a lorry into the UK. We don’t believe that truck drivers should be made to act as unpaid immigration officers.”​ 

Hard drive ahead

• £1 a minute to run a 44t truck

• 52p/mile to fuel a 44t truck

• £89bn of trade passes through Calais annually

• £12M committed by UK government to tackle security and traffic around Calais

Source: FTA

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