Hundreds of lorry drivers have spent a second night sleeping in their cabs after French border closed yesterday amid fears of a new strain of COVID 19 spreading through the continent.
The ban will initially last for 48 hours while politicians try come to some agreement to get things moving again. French Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said a new “health protocol” to be introduced within hours should allow shipments from the UK to resume. British officials said they were conferring urgently with their European counterparts.
Meanwhile there are some arrivals of fresh produce to the UK where companies are sending driverless loads over but not nearly the volumes required. European logistics companies are wary of sending drivers, fearing they may get 'stuck' in the UK.
According to ITV more than 1450 lorries are stuck in Kent, these drivers have no access to facilities.
There appeared to be some confusion as to the numbers of trucks waiting in Kent as Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a press conference yesterday there were only 174 parked lorries. This morning the Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed 650 lorries remain on the M20 in Kent and more than 800 are parked up in the Manston Airport site.
British supermarket group Tesco joined Sainsbury's in warning on Monday that there may be a shortage of some fruit and vegetables later this week if transport ties are not quickly restored with mainland Europe.
Tesco said that "there may be reduced supply on a few fresh items, such as lettuce, cauliflower and citrus fruit later this week, but we don’t expect any problems with availability on these lines today or tomorrow".
Port of Dover Chief Executive Doug Bannister said that if the port was not reopened soon, there would be “quite a stark situation.”
“Because of the importance of the Dover straits in handling critical goods such as food and other things like that, I think it could become quite dramatic,” he said.
Meanwhile in Ireland the vegetable supply remains steady according to the www.farmersjournal.ie as exporter on the continent are using ferries direct to Ireland to avoid the UK land bridge,