Monday, November 23, 2015

Road Haulage Drivers Get 24/7 Calais Incident Line to Report Attacks

Cross Channel Migrant Situation Continues Unabated
Shipping News Feature
FRANCE – UK – In a sensible move freight drivers will now easily be able to report incidents encountered as they try to ship their trailers from the Port of Calais. The huge number of migrants trying to cross the Channel has resulted in the succession of major and minor incidents with drivers under serious threat and now the Road Haulage Association (RHA) has come up with a common sense idea to make reporting incidents simpler and ensure the information can be used to demonstrate how serious the situation has become on a daily basis.

The RHA intends to pass on the details as part of its continuing engagement with the British government on the matter with the launch of the 24/7 Calais Incident Reporting Line - +44 (0) 1274 863111. Thousands of wallet-sized cards have been printed with the reporting line number, together with the telephone numbers for the emergency services in France and the UK. The Port of Dover is supporting the initiative and the cards will be issued to drivers by ferry operators P&O and DFDS and it is hoped that other cross-Channel operators will also participate. The scheme is also being promoted by Truck & Driver magazine.

The reporting line will give hauliers and their drivers the opportunity to call in and officially log incidents of intimidation or incursion by migrants. Callers will be asked for their name, the nature of the incident, the exact location where the incident occurred and whether there was damage to their load or vehicle. The information gathered will be passed to the Home Office and Border Force teams.

The RHA’s International department, which provides advice and frequent updates of value to hauliers travelling abroad, is already receiving valuable and worrying feedback as to the extent of the problems. The 24/7 telephone line will supplement that information and the service will be available to all drivers, regardless of nationality. Commenting, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said:

“We are very concerned about the amount and scale of the reports we are receiving. They include instances of hauliers being threatened with baseball bats, while others have been subject to migrants throwing bricks off motorway bridges. We have also had several eye-witness accounts of migrants deliberately putting obstacles in the road with the sole aim of slowing vehicles down to make them more ‘accessible’.

“This is a situation that is both out of control and totally unacceptable for those who are, quite simply, doing their job. The reporting line will provide the evidence and understanding needed to ensure we get the protection that the haulage industry is entitled to expect.”

Photo: The front and rear of the reporting card.