Haulier considers options after a flash blockade in Calais, as the Migrant Crisis simmers next door.
Also, Aston Martin finishes a European tour with James Bond’s DB10. Booming Brittany Ferries launches new Spain freight-ferry. Another landslide on winter sports Grenoble-Briancon road. French national traffic monitor closes down.
CALAIS STRIKE ‘WARNING’ TO DFDS AND EUROTUNNEL
Eurotunnel will be next says union boss.
The industrial action at Calais this afternoon was thankfully short lived but it served to highlight the fragile situation at the major French port.
Around fifty former MyFerryLink workers blocked the DFDS berth with burning tyres, and occupied the firm’s booking office, from mid-morning to early afternoon.
Kevin Hopper, boss of Brian Yeardley Continental said, ‘Great, more industrial Action at Calais. HAPPY NEW YEAR! We are diverting our fleet again to other safer ports.’
Protesters say DFDS has not fulfilled commitments made to end the strike over the summer.
They claim that 350 out of the 402 seamen promised jobs are still out of work according to La Voix du Nord.
This includes the 150 workers due to be taken on by Eurotunnel which abandoned plans to run a freight-only ferry service after a Competition ruling in December.
Today’s incident comes after a meeting between the union and the French minister of Transport on Monday.
Afterwards, union boss Eric Vercoutre had said he would take legal action against both DFDS and Eurotunnel.
This afternoon however, he told AFP the flash strike was a warning to DFDS and added, ‘the next will be shortly against Eurotunnel.’
Meanwhile, work to clear The Jungle migrant camp from within 100 meters of the Calais port road started on Monday and is expected to take two weeks.
Despite many of the migrants being reluctant to move, the process has so far been without major incident.
roundup: CROSSING THE CHANNEL. Thanks to ‘strong growth’, particularly in the unaccompanied trailers market, Brittany Ferries starts a new freight-only service between the UK and Spain in early February. The new ship Pelican is chartered from Maritime Nantaise. It has a capacity of around 100 trailers and twelve drivers and will operate two round trips per week between Poole and Bilbao. Brittany Ferries saw a 20% increase in freight volumes last year while 2016 has started strongly, the firm says. The new route will operate for one year initially with the option to extend. FRANCE. Another landslide on the D1091 Grenoble-Briancon road, at Mont de Lans. It is not as serious, and will not take as long to clear, as the previous landslide which cut the same road at Lake Chambon in April, but the local diversion is not suitable for vehicles 3.5t+ reports Autoroute.info. The temporary road around the lake which opened in December is not anyway suitable for large vehicles, or transit traffic. In this case, drivers should divert on the N85 + N94 via Gap, or A43 via Frejus Tunnel (with discount tickets available from Serre-Chevalier tourist office, see more). Update: @TRAFrhonalp tweeted later to say the landslide has already been cleared. Also, national traffic monitor Bison Fute is to close down. The seven regional centres shut up shop on 1 May according to police union UNSA. The move is to cut costs but also a recognition that technology has moved on in the forty years since its founding with the advent of satnav and digital devices. It is expected that the regional @TRAF twitter feeds and websites will continue – see our France at a Glance page for more – but there is some doubt about the handy annual jam calenders which alert drivers to the busiest days, particularly the infamous Black Saturdays.