Illustration of traffic jam on the A16 towards the port or Eurotunnel in Calais.


Denis Charlet / AFP

Monster traffic jams every week.

The National Federation of Road Transport of Pas-de-Calais denounced Thursday a "calamitous management" of the flow of heavy goods vehicles towards the United Kingdom.

Indeed, the British are building stocks of goods before Brexit becomes effective.

"The traffic management plan is not up to the challenges", lamented to AFP the secretary general of the National Road Transport Federation (FNTR) of Pas-de-Calais, Sébastien Rivéra.

Round trip before the weekend

For several weeks, the prefecture has regularly observed a congestion of the axes towards the transmanches platforms - ferry ports in Calais and Eurotunnel in Coquelles -, in particular of the A16 motorway, and tries to absorb them, among other things by the activation of zones storage for heavy goods vehicles.

Particularly long lines of heavy goods vehicles stretch out on the outskirts of Calais on Wednesdays and Thursdays, days traditionally marked by the presence of a greater number of trucks, the drivers seeking to make the round trip before the weekend.

According to Mr. Rivéra, the British "are filling their stocks like never before" for fear of the duties which may be imposed from January 1, when the transitional period of Brexit will have expired.

"Our carriers can't take it anymore"

"Our carriers can no longer take it, some who only work locally find themselves with a completely blocked activity," he laments, deeming the storage capacity of trucks at the port and near the tunnel insufficient.

According to the prefecture, around 9,000 trucks now cross the Channel each day in each direction, against 6,000 on average usually.

On November 19, a young migrant was killed by a car on the A16 near the entrance to Eurotunnel, where police had intervened on several occasions to disperse migrants attempting to board trucks that formed a long line .

On Thursday, this subject was discussed during the visit to Calais of Prime Minister Jean Castex.

"The proximity of Brexit encourages smugglers and migrants to choose the fastest route, that is to say that we are subject to real invasions which block traffic", explained Jacques Gounon, president of Getlink Eurotunnel, operator of the Channel Tunnel.


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