Lorry queues grow in Dover as EU set to meet over UK trade, travel ban

·2-min read

France and its EU neighbours are scrambling to thrash out a coordinated plan in response to a new strain of Covid-19 that has blocked trade and air travel to the UK and left hundreds of freight trucks banked up outside the border with France. FRANCE 24’s Hervé Amoric reports from Dover.

At the British port of Dover, hundreds of trucks are queued at a near standstill before many are turned away after the EU on Sunday halted trade and travel amid the emergence of a new coronavirus strain. Concern over the mutated strain has unleashed chaos for travellers, producers and freight companies with fears of major disruptions to supply chains just ahead of Christmas.

For truck drivers stranded in Dover there is little to do but wait.

One driver carrying shellfish bound for France said he was unable to board a ferry but managed to get his cargo delivered via a company in Calais.

“There’s a lot of extra involvement in trying to find a company to try to get details and to make sure the store, clients and factory are all still there to get the load off the trailer,” Damian Doherty, a driver from Ireland, told FRANCE 24.

European leaders, meanwhile, are expected to meet Tuesday to work out a way of lifting the border restrictions with Britain which could include involve requiring coronavirus tests on arrivals.

The 48-hour blockade comes just as companies are racing to shift products before Britain exits EU trade structures on January 1.

Major supermarkets have warned of potential shortages of food if the ban is not soon lifted.

Yet British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reassured the public that supply chains are “strong and robust” with delays hitting only a "small percentage of food entering the UK".

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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