The Pas-de-Calais state has stepped up security measures at the Calais port ring road in response to the growing presence of migrants in the area and the increasingly regular occurrence of freight traffic being slowed down and stopped.
Local sources said a now-common pattern is that when police intervene to prevent migrants boarding trailers, skirmishes break out leading to long tailbacks of vehicles before public order is restored. The state prefect said the ring road was now off-limits to pedestrians until further notice.
Whether this will prevent migrants from targeting trucks to enter the port remains to be seen. Sources in Calais said the situation had now reached ‘crisis point’, with the move to restrict pedestrian access to the zone seen as a last-ditch attempt to maintain traffic flow into the port.
Meanwhile, a recently formed ferry and port workers collective calling itself ‘Working together to save the Port of Calais’, has called for the relocation of the town’s migrant camp ‘The Jungle’, which is situated only 800 metres from the port.
The collective warned that if this relocation does not happen, Calais risks losing its ferry services to Zeebrugge and Rotterdam as freight operators decide they are no longer willing to accept the threat to drivers and trucks from migrants.
A member of the collective said. “We are embarking on a €800 million port development project, ‘Calais Port 2015,’ at a time when the port is really suffering (because of the migrant crisis). Better to re-locate the migrant camp than see the port losing key customers.”