French customs officials in Calais and Dunkirk are continuing their protests in order to demonstrate what will happen after Brexit, when greater controls will have to be put into place for those crossing the channel. They say France isn’t ready for Brexit. The protests started earlier this week, and have caused huge delays with trucks stuck in traffic jams of several kilometers and some trucks have been forced by French police to wait in Belgium. The situation is causing huge problems for the European fruit and vegetable sector.
Too risky for exporters
Peter Davis from Davis Worldwide said, “Goods loaded on Wednesday are not expected to arrive in the UK until Sunday and anything loaded today will take 5-6 days to get here, it is all very hit and miss. It is not only the delays which are the problem, some haulage companies are now refusing to send trucks to the UK at all. There is the added problem of static trucks on the motorways leading to Calais being boarded by migrants and exporters will not take the risk of arriving in the UK to find them in the trucks which means the product has to be destroyed and the companies are also fined by UK customs.”
Peter sees this as a taste of what will come after the UK leaves Europe, most likely without a deal as there are only 2 ½ weeks to go and still nothing has been decided.
Shortage of trucks going to the UK
French apple exporter Cofruid’Oc. “We are facing a shortage of trucks going to the United Kingdom, because the rotation is much slower than normal,” says Philippe Jean, commercial director of the company. “This has already caused severe delays in delivery for some days now. It’s always annoying if you have to change the delivery schedules. In addition to this, some transporters are turning their backs on the UK and prefer other destinations. This contributes to the shortage of trucks that are still available for transport to the UK.
“Today we should have loaded a truck that was scheduled to deliver our products in the UK. Yesterday the transport company called me to say they had no trucks available.”