P and O Ferries 'won't sail from Dover before Easter' but Larne-to-Cairnryan 'resumes next week'

Fri 8 Apr 2022
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

P&O Ferries will not resume Dover-Calais sailings until after Easter (15-18 April) despite its claims that they would resume next week.

The RMT union said it understood the earliest sailings would be on 19 April, more than a month after it sacked staff, Kent Online reports.

P&O has told customers that it is suspending services this weekend (9-10 April) and that they should book with other operators, according to the Daily Mirror.

P&O suspended sailings after it sacked nearly 800 seafarers last month. Rival DFDS, which had been picking up the slack, has said it no longer has capacity to take P&O customers.

The cancellations will further add to the queues of lorries waiting to enter the Port of Dover – disruption that has entered its eighth day.

Northern Ireland sailings ‘back on’

P&O has said that its Larne-Cairnryan sailings, due to resume this weekend, would now be operational next week.

A P&O spokesman told the Belfast Telegraph today (Friday 8 April) that the Larne route would set sail next week.

Stena Line has been absorbing some of P&O customers on its Belfast to Cairnryan route.

Heathrow ‘freight chaos’

Meanwhile, the Unite union is warning of “freight chaos” at Heathrow as 200 handlers are balloted for industrial action over a wage dispute.

Unite members ‘build’ the freight cargos and then truck them to points at the airport for loading on to airlines such as Air China, American Airlines, Etihad, Singapore and Thai. 

They also deal with unloaded cargo from passenger flights, so a strike could cause havoc not just to freight movements, but to passengers boarding and leaving aircraft.

GVMS issues

The Independent reports that problems with the GVMS system for customs declarations are contributing to Easter traffic chaos in Kent with thousands of lorries parked up awaiting Channel crossings.

A 23-mile coastbound stretch of the M20 was closed as part of Operation Brock traffic management system for the Port of Dover.

The Road Haulage Association said HMRC is “continuing to have issues” with the post-Brexit GVMS system for customs declarations, without which lorries cannot move goods between Britain and the EU.