UK-France border reopens but backlog expected

By Damian Brett

France has reopened its border with the UK but supply chain backlogs are expected to continue as trucks take time to clear.

Yesterday evening the French government eased its travel ban, allowing hauliers – among others – to travel to France if they have proof of a negative Covid test in the last 72 hours.

The UK’s military and health service are carrying out rapid tests in Kent.

The Netherlands and Belgium have also eased their bans.

However, estimates suggest that as of this morning there are as many as 4,000 trucks waiting to cross the channel, which could take some time to clear.

Supply chains association Logistics UK’s policy director, Elizabeth de Jong, said: “On behalf of our members, the businesses which transport all the goods and services the economy needs, we are relieved to hear the UK/France border will soon be open.

“It is now vital that Covid-19 testing procedures be stood up fast to ensure drivers can be processed and get home for Christmas safely.

“The backlog of traffic across the region will take time to clear so hauliers should wait for further news before travelling to Kent.”

The ban was put in place over concerns of a new variant of the Covid-19 virus. The new variant has also been detected in the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia.

More than 50 other countries are continuing to block travellers from the UK, which is impacting airline passenger services.

The queues of trucks in the UK resulted in an “unprecedented” number of enquiries for air cargo charter services.

Food supply chains are already feeling the impact of the border closure, with some supermarkets rationing certain items.

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