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2nd July 2015 - Press Release

Minister sees scale of impact of industrial action on key transport corridor

The Ports and Shipping Minister, Robert Goodwill MP, has today travelled through Kent to the Port of Dover in order to see first hand the scale of disruption caused by ongoing industrial action in France.

Tim Waggott, Chief Executive, Port of Dover, said:

“Our Chairman George Jenkins and I, together with our major ferry partners, Port staff, representatives of the freight industry and of course the Dover and wider Kent community are pleased to welcome the Minister to Dover.  The scale and prolonged period of disruption is bad for us all and it is bad for the UK too.  The Port handles trade to the value of £100 billion every year and every day that this situation in France continues costs the UK at least £250 million.  That is simply unacceptable and incredibly damaging.”

The Minister witnessed the round-the-clock work being undertaken by the whole Port community to mitigate the impact on customers and the local community together with Kent Police, Highways England and all of the partner agencies within the Kent Resilience Forum dealing with the wider transport and welfare implications of Operation Stack.

Whilst at the Port, the Minister visited the Port’s dedicated Emergency Co-ordination Centre and Terminal Control from where the Port is spearheading its response in close cooperation with all of the key responders.

The Minister also took time to meet with some of the Port’s stakeholders, including the ferry operators P&O Ferries and DFDS Seaways.

Transport Minister, Robert Goodwill MP, said:

“The disruption this industrial action is causing to cross-Channel travel is completely unacceptable. Today I have seen the huge effort that is going into dealing with the knock on impact it is having on Dover and across Kent. The Prime Minister has discussed the situation at Calais with the President Hollande and the need to stop the blockade and maintain port security, and the Home Secretary today met her French counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve. We need to see services return to normal as soon as possible.”

Mr Waggott added:

“The Port is acutely aware and highly sympathetic to the impact that this is having on our customers. I cannot praise our staff enough for the incredible dedication and professionalism being shown in challenging conditions.  Together with our ferry partners who have been equally resilient and proactive in finding ways of keeping some traffic moving to other ports, we are and will continue to do all that we can to minimise the impact of a situation completely out of our control.  I can assure everyone that we will do everything possible to allow Europe’s busiest ferry port to do its job for the nation; unimpeded by others.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

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