Freight traffic through the Port of Dover is now ‘smooth’, says Port Board

Pride of Hull at Europoort. © Thomas Lukassek

Long queues of lorries have been eliminated, with freight and passenger traffic now flowing smoothly, according to the Port of Dover.

Traffic backlogs have been piling up since P&O Ferries laid off 800 seagoing staff in mid-March, with its three Dover-Calais ferries awaiting inspections by the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA), dramatically reducing capacity ships in the Strait of Dover.

“During this recent difficult period, which has been further compounded by the Easter getaway, the Port of Dover operations team have been working around the clock with ferry operators and local partners, including Kent Resilience Forum, National Highways and Kent Police, to clear freight backlogs and get passengers on their way, while helping to minimize the impact on the local community and businesses as much as possible,” a port statement read. .

Authorities in Dover said they had been working with just half the usual ferry capacity over the past week and two-thirds of the normal space available over the weekend, to move freight and passenger traffic .

“Also within these capacity constraints, colleagues at the port continue to work non-stop to minimize disruption and keep traffic flowing across the Channel, with all routes into the port remaining smooth from 4am on Sunday morning. “

Nonetheless, Operation Brock and the traffic access protocol, the Dover TAP, remain operational in anticipation of heavy traffic flows over the next few days as the Easter passenger jaunt increases in intensity.

“We anticipate another busy week for tourist and cargo traffic, and we will continue to work with our partners to help keep communities clear and passengers and cargo moving,” a port spokesperson said.

Over the weekend, P&O Ferries tweeted that it would refund all fares paid by customers affected by suspended P&O Ferries services between Dover and Calais over the weekend. In addition, the company will also pay the difference between the customer’s original ticket price and any new fare.

Meanwhile, the MCA said it would continue its inspections of P&O Ferries vessels this week, but even so the P&O fleet is not expected to return to service until Good Friday at the earliest.

Pride of Hullwhich operates from Hull to Rotterdam in the Netherlands, has now been declared fit for operations, however, with Dutch dockers refusing to take over the vessel, it is expected to remain in Rotterdam for the time being.

The Dutch dockworkers’ union, the FNV, has confirmed that the Pride of Hull remained in Rotterdam’s Europoort, but added that there were unconfirmed reports that the ship would begin operations tomorrow. P&O Ferries did not respond to The Loadstartry to contact the company.

Pride of Hull is one of three P&O Ferries vessels registered with the Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA), with European roadway and European Highlanderthe registry being required to receive 30 days’ notice before layoffs take place.

The BMA said The Loadstar: “All vessels flying the flag of the Bahamas are required to comply with international conventions, and the vessels concerned are deemed to comply with the relevant conventions, including the provisions of the Maritime Labor Convention of 2006 relating to the employment of seafarers on board ships.

“The BMA is unable to comment on specific working arrangements, which are confidential to the seafarer and the employer. As the responsible flag state, we are cooperating appropriately with the UK authorities, but we are unable to comment on action taken under UK law.

He added: “The action taken by P&O Ferries appears to be in breach of the Bermuda Merchant Shipping (Employment of Seamen) Regulations 2013, which implement part of the Bermuda Maritime Labor Convention 2006, in that that the notice period required to terminate a seafarer’s contract of employment has not been complied with.

“This case has been forwarded to the prosecution for review.”

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