Easter traffic adds to Dover disruption – by sea and rail – and is set to continue into this week

Mon 4 Apr 2022
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

dover queues

Freight lorries were facing nine-hour queues at Dover as increased Easter traffic combined with a lack of ferries after the suspension of sailings by P&O Ferries and poor weather continued to disrupt journeys.

With Operation Brock in force from Friday, HGV lorries were queuing for miles along the M20 into Dover, and delays are expected into the middle of the week.

Eurotunnel breakdown

On top of ferry problems, Kent Online reports that a freight train breakdown means that Eurotunnel customers are now facing three-hour delays.

“As a result of a technical issue with a freight shuttle overnight, Eurotunnel is currently operating a reduced service,” a Eurotunnel statement said.

“We apologise to customers who may experience some delays during this incident and would like to assure everyone that we are working as fast as possible to remove the train from the tunnel and to restore normal service.”

P&O and DFDS ferries out

The short Dover-Calais crossing is still not being serviced by P&O Ferries after it sacked 800 seafarers more than two weeks ago.

DFDS ferry Dover Seaways hit a berth in high winds on Thursday and is being inspected ahead of repairs, though is expected to return to service today or tomorrow. 

According to Bloomberg, while some of the goods caught up in the gridlock are exports, most are empty vehicles returning to Europe to pick up more deliveries for the UK.

‘Increase to trade costs’

The Daily Mail reports Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the British Ports Association, reassuring traders and consumer passengers that problems were easing after a weekend where delays were up to nine hours.

“Traffic measures are in place, which... are working fairly well and it enables other people around east Kent and businesses, residents etc to move around freely,” he said.

Ballantyne added: “Trade is not being massively impacted as of yet, but it could add some extra costs because it’s delaying drivers getting back to Europe.”

Meanwhile Simon Calder, The Independent's travel correspondent, told the BBC this morning that while there was strain on the Dover-Calais route, crossings from Newhaven to Dieppe “are half empty”.