Brits going to France advised to bring food and drink for long queues in Kent

People travelling to France via the Channel Tunnel will face long delays on roads in Kent due to a shortage of ferries after suspension of sailings by P&O Ferries

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People travelling to France via the Channel Tunnel have been advised to bring food and drink as lengthy queues continue at the Port of Dover.

Roads in Kent have been hit by long delays in recent days due to a shortage of ferries caused by the suspension of sailings by P&O Ferries after it sacked nearly 800 seafarers without notice.

The operator said it plans to resume operations on the Dover-Calais route next week pending regulatory approval.

Toby Howe, tactical lead at the Kent Resilience Forum, advised travellers to France to “allow a lot of extra time”.

Cars wait to check in at the Port of Dover in Kent. Delays to Channel crossings are being driven by the suspension of P&O Ferries sailings after the operator sacked nearly 800 seafarers without notice last month. Picture date: Saturday April 9, 2022.
Cars wait to check in at the Port of Dover in Kent. Delays to Channel crossings are being driven by the suspension of P&O Ferries sailings after the operator sacked nearly 800 seafarers without notice last month. Picture date: Saturday April 9, 2022.

He said the delays had been caused by “the perfect storm”.

“In Kent we have had the perfect storm,” Mr Howe said.

“Yes, we had the P&O issue. We then had a storm at sea which meant that a lot of the ferries couldn’t cross overnight.

“We had a few problems with the customs process, etc.

Moored P&O Ferries at the Port of Dover in Kent . Delays to Channel crossings are being driven by the suspension of P&O Ferries sailings after the operator sacked nearly 800 seafarers without notice last month. Picture date: Saturday April 9, 2022.
Moored P&O Ferries at the Port of Dover in Kent . Delays to Channel crossings are being driven by the suspension of P&O Ferries sailings after the operator sacked nearly 800 seafarers without notice last month. Picture date: Saturday April 9, 2022.

“We then had some snow. We then had a train in the tunnels, so all of these things had added up to culminate in the problems that we have got for poor Kent at the moment.”

He told BBC Breakfast there had also been an IT issue with processing documents.

Mr Howe said: “Luckily things have been put in place now so that isn’t a delay but that was something that contributed to those initial delays.

Moored P&O Ferries the Pride of Kent (front), Spirit of Britian (left) and the Pride of Canterbury (top) at the Port of Dover in Kent . Delays to Channel crossings are being driven by the suspension of P&O Ferries sailings after the operator sacked nearly 800 seafarers without notice last month. Picture date: Saturday April 9, 2022.
Moored P&O Ferries the Pride of Kent (front), Spirit of Britian (left) and the Pride of Canterbury (top) at the Port of Dover in Kent . Delays to Channel crossings are being driven by the suspension of P&O Ferries sailings after the operator sacked nearly 800 seafarers without notice last month. Picture date: Saturday April 9, 2022.

“So last weekend Dover really suffered because of all of that congestion.

“But we have put traffic management plans in place now so that things can flow through Dover and Dover can still function as a town, and Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover are able to operate as they need to.”

He added: “Make sure you have got some food and drink because there will be delays.

“A lot of the minor roads therefore are chock-a-block.”

Mr Howe advised travellers to look into the traffic on different routes before making their journeys.

He said that summer, when traffic is likely to get busier, was a “worry”.

Mr Howe added: “What we need are plans in place moving forward because every getaway, Kent could suffer.

“So we need plans in place so that we can actually restrict that traffic coming in.

“Hopefully, when the ferries are back from P&O that will assist as well.

“But there will always be some problems as we continue with this sort of thing.”

He added that it should not be Kent that “suffers” every time there are travel issues.