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Chaos cost transport sector around 150 million euros in 2015

"Army has to protect drivers in Calais"

Marcel van Bruggen is the transport manager at ABC Logistics and is in the TLN committee that will discuss the situation at Calais on the 17th of December with the English, French and European authorities. According to Marcel, it is sorely needed: "Before the summer we would drive through the Channel tunnel with two or three trucks a day. Like many colleagues, the transport is now going through Hook of Holland. The camps at Calais are starting to become more and more permanent and the number of 'inhabitants' is growing day by day. The migrants are becoming increasingly aggressive and are increasingly attacking the drivers with baseball bats, stones and knives. This is why TLN is supporting the plans of the council of Calais to use the army to vacate the camps and protect the drivers."

The mental damage to drivers and physical damage to vehicles and loads is already high. Companies are also facing fines when migrants are found in trucks despite heavy investments in securing trucks and going through all procedures and checklists. "We have to get away from the criminal position we are in as transport companies at the moment," adds TLN president Arthur van Dijk. "We as a sector are doing as much as we can to prevent intruders. We already have to go through the daily misery of Calais and take millions worth of damage. If a refugee is found despite all of the measures, a fine that can run into tens of thousands of euros is added on top. It's ridiculous," according to Van Dijk.

Besides the psychological and physical consequences of the situation in Calais, Dutch transporters also have a lot of economic damage. After an inquiry among its members, Transport and Logistics Nederland (TLN) estimates the total economic damage in 2015 to be around 150 million euros. The damage for the fruit and vegetable sector has not yet been calculated.

Marcel has no idea what the results of the meeting will be. He is, however, pessimistic about the prospects of the situation in the tunnel: "The question is how effective the measures are and whether they can keep transport through the tunnel profitable. The problem is moving. Nowadays the migrants are entering the trucks in Paris. You can see the same with the Stena-Line. To get into England from Hook of Holland, the journey for migrants starts in Woerden or further. No fence can stop this."

To detect the stowaways, TLN is pleading for an improved checking in and control procedure for companies that are credited by the UK Border Force. This accreditation focuses on going through all kinds of checks and procedures against intruders in trucks. At the moment there are still no incentives for companies to get this accreditation. "It would be good to reward these companies for their efforts with a 'fast lane', like you see when checking in for a flight," says Van Dijk. "Various authorities have to integrate their checks for this. There are already ongoing conversations about it. It would be good if we could take another step on Thursday."

More information:
ABC Logistics
Marcel van Bruggen
E: [email protected]

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