UK haulage companies doing business through the port of Calais face stiff fines if they are found carrying illegal migrants – defined as “clandestine entrants” by the UK Border force. These fines can apply even if the hauliers are unaware of their illegal stowaways, so what can drivers do to try to resolve this problem?
The Calais Crisis
The current migrant crisis stems from the closure of the Sangette refugee camp. Potential migrants have continued to come to Calais, building temporary camps around the port. Recent months have seen increasingly determined – and sometimes violent – attempts by refugees to force their way into the UK through the Eurotunnel and through transport vehicles coming to and from the port of Calais.
UK hauliers have been hit especially hard, with Home Office personnel blaming a lack of security for the increasing number of migrants stowing away on lorries. The solution they are proposing: impose stiff fines upon hauliers and their employers that operate without basic standards of security.
What Can You Do?
So what exactly are hauliers expected to do in order to secure their vehicles from illegal migrants? Here are some of the proactive ways in which to stay one step ahead of the situation.
Obtain UKBF Accreditation
The first thing UK haulage companies can do is approach the UK Border Force to obtain accreditation. You can find out more information about the accreditation process as well as the security measures the UKBF suggests on their website. These basic measures include using devices like padlocks or tilt cords to secure your lorry, repairing all tears prior to loading, creating checklists and obtaining written confirmation that the checks were properly conducted. If clandestine entrants do manage to sneak aboard a lorry, UKBF accreditation will significantly reduce fines – at least on the part of the employer.
Consider Other Routes
Some UK haulage companies are already going around Calais instead of risking using the port. The delays faced are starting to reach a point where hauliers opt for alternative routes even when it will take longer. Some of the increasingly popular ones include Dover to Dunkirk, Portsmouth to Le Havre, Portsmouth to Deauville, Portsmouth to Cherbourg, Newhaven to Dieppe and Hull to Bruges.
Stay Up to Date
The situation in Calais is tense at the moment, but shifts in policy from the UK and French governments could change the situation on the ground sooner rather than later. UK haulage companies are encouraged to stay tuned to the latest developments at Calais and act accordingly.