Calais crisis: Delays hit Scottish shellfish exports

By Alice Foster

- Last updated on GMT

Scottish companies that export live shellfish are struggling to cope
Scottish companies that export live shellfish are struggling to cope

Related tags: Transport, Channel tunnel

Scottish companies that export live shellfish are struggling to cope as their delivery lorries remain caught in the middle of travel chaos at Channel ports.

A French officer was hit by a stone as police tried to stop about 1,700 migrants from entering the Eurotunnel’s freight terminal on Sunday night.

The deepening crisis at Calais is costing the freight industry millions and causing difficulties for exporters that are unable to meet supply deadlines.

Among the affected Scottish seafood firms is DR Collin which exports live shellfish, in particular langoustines and lobsters, to Europe.

‘Impacted us very, very heavily’

James Cook, md of DR Collin, said the company had built up credit notes, worth the equivalent of £100,000, due to “misconnections” ​and export delays.

“It’s a major disruption to a business that has developed over a large number of years through hard work and dedication. It’s impacted us very, very heavily,”​ Cook said.   

He said there had been a loss of confidence in the ability of Scottish seafood firms to supply produce within the deadlines required by their customers.

“That means a loss of confidence, a loss of profits, a loss of money and a loss of opportunity,” ​he added.

‘Losing money day after day’

The long transport delays, caused by the migrant crisis and striking ferry workers, is costing the freight industry about £750,000 a day, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

Business impact

 "A loss of confidence, a loss of profits, a loss of money and a loss of opportunity."

  • James Cook, md of DR Collin

Chris MacRae, the FTA’s head of rail freight policy, said he had spoken to a Scottish business that regularly used the tunnel and had managed only five out of a planned 25 train services in the past five weeks at a loss of around £150,000. 

“This can’t be allowed to continue – businesses are losing money day after day because of delays and cancellations to services caused by the migrants and strikers,”​ said MacRae said.

The Scottish government yesterday convened a summit to discuss alternative export routes and modes of transport that could be used by seafood companies.

Fisheries secretary Richard Lochhead said: “With fish commodities accounting for almost two thirds of all Scotland food export products - compared with just 12 per cent for the UK as a whole – Scottish seafood producers are being disproportionately affected by the on-going Channel Tunnel disruption.”

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1 comment

Route to Europe

Posted by Vincent Power,

Why are companies continuing to try to use the channel at huge risk to their businesses. Switching to other routes would really focus minds on finding a solution to this crisis

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