HGV drivers acting as ‘unpaid immigration officers’
27 May 2015
As the Calais migrant problem continues to worsen the Freight Transport Association has expressed concern for UK HGV drivers.
FTA’s International Affairs Manager, Donald Armour said: "FTA’s principal concern is the safety of drivers attempting to travel safely 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 immigrations officers.”
The migrant population has risen to around 3,000, as those fleeing North Africa and Middle East make their way to Calais in the hope of crossing the Channel to Britain.
The UK Border Force and French authorities have a good working relationship but it is clear that resources are stretched, and more is needed to be done as a matter of urgency.
"FTA’s principle concern is the safety of drivers attempting to travel safely 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 immigrations officers.”
FTA has welcomed the moves by Eurotunnel and the UK ferry operators who are reportedly looking at ways to increase secure parking areas as a matter of urgency; both are providing additional space but as UK trade continues to improve more HGVs are travelling to and from the UK. However, without sufficient security measures for drivers ensuring them a safe passage home FTA is concerned regarding their safety.
The situation has led to both the ferry terminals and Eurotunnel increasing checks on vehicles prior to embarkation, which slows down the processing of vehicles and threatens the reliability of the UK supply chain to and from Europe.
Armour added: "The UK Government really must insist on greater proactive involvement by the responsible French authorities; if they don’t act soon the UK supply chain could be in serious danger of being very badly disrupted.”