Calais migrant death highlights need to end transport chaos

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Channel tunnel

The PM should do more to end the chaos in Calais, after today's fatal accident: FTA
The PM should do more to end the chaos in Calais, after today's fatal accident: FTA
The death of migrant while trying to board a freight shuttle to Britain has prompted the Freight Transport Association (FTA) to write to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to do more to end the chaotic scenes caused by illegal migrants and ferry workers' strikes at Calais.

Channel Tunnel operator Eurotunnel said a man died today (July 7) on the French side of the tunnel, apparently after trying to jump on the freight train. The report follows news of an Eritrean who died last month, whil trying to board a train at Coquelles. Earlier this week 150 migrants tried to storm the Channel Tunnel terminal in France.

The FTA has urged Cameron and the French government to prioritise a plan designed to end the chaos which has seen lorry drivers harassed by migrants and caught up in lengthy delays caused by striking French ferry workers. 

‘It is a tragedy’

FTA chief executive David Wells said: “It is a tragedy that the deplorable situation in Calais has resulted in a fatality today, but it was clear that the issue at the port was spiraling out of control.​ 

“We have been calling on the both the British and French Governments to intervene for some time, and are now asking the Prime Minister to give the matter his urgent priority, and to implement plans to alleviate the crisis.”

While the association welcomed Cameron’s statements on the crisis in recent weeks, the danger to migrants, scale of the delays, disruption to supply chains and, above all, risks to drivers’ health and safety had reached “unacceptable levels”, he said.

‘Hundreds of millions pounds each week’

“As the disruption and delays continue on both sides of the Channel the cost to the UK economy is running into hundreds of millions pounds each week.”

Death in Calais

“It is a tragedy that the deplorable situation in Calais has resulted in a fatality today, but it was clear that the issue at the port was spiraling out of control.​ 

  • FTA boss David Wells

Further industrial action by the MyFerryLink workers was expected today after industrial action was suspended last Thursday.

During last week’s four­day strike by MyFerryLink workers, burning tyres were thrown on the Eurotunnel tracks and 30 miles of lorries​ stacked on the M20 in Kent.

Deputy chief executive James Hookham to urge the French government to: “End this madness now.”

Meanwhile, food manufacturers should protect their supply chains​ from the “warzone” ​created by the strike action and illegal migrant crisis unfolding at the port of Calais, warns a leading risk management consultant.

The chaotic scenes at the port – described by one driver as being like a “warzone” – underlined the need for planning, said risk consultancy firm Aon Risk Solutions.

“These events have highlighted a genuine need for scenario planning,”​ said its head of business continuity practice Vince West.

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