Eurotunnel’s truck shuttle is operating at maximum capacity almost full-time this week as the rush to get goods to stores in the UK before Christmas reaches its peak.
“We have got six truck shuttles per hour constantly at the moment and this frequency will probably be maintained until Friday, when things are likely to start to calm down traffic volume-wise,” Eurotunnel spokesman John Keefe, toldLloyd’s Loading List.com.
The fixed link operator is facing its busiest period of the year far more serenely then it could have imagined earlier this autumn when a spate of incursions by migrants on to its French terminal caused regular disruption to freight traffic.
“The security that has been put in place around the site (of the French terminal) since the middle of October has proven to be extremely effective,” he said.
This includes the completion of 30 kilometres of fencing, an extra 100 sniffer dogs, accompanied by patrol guards, 460 additional gendarmes mobiles – including a group who are mounted on horseback and patrol outside the terminal – helicopters that overfly the site, and the creation of a secure holding zone for up to 900 trucks which offsets queuing on the motorway.
UK Border Force recently increased staffing levels and the number of sniffer dogs positioned at border control before trucks board freight shuttles for the UK in a move designed to keep traffic moving.
“We have had no service disruptions at all for almost two months now and traffic has been growing again. The number of migrants in the Calais area looking to cross to the UK is still in the thousands, but they are finding it almost impossible to get to the Channel Tunnel,” Keefe underlined.
“It is a reassuring situation for our customers, particularly on the freight side.”