Strikes in France disrupt ferry services to Britain

29th November 2006, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, Nov 29, 2006 (AFP) - Strike action in the northeastern French port of Calais was causing disruption to ferry services Wednesday between Britain and France, a Port of Dover spokesman told AFP.

LONDON, Nov 29, 2006 (AFP) - Strike action in the northeastern French port of Calais was causing disruption to ferry services Wednesday between Britain and France, a Port of Dover spokesman told AFP.

More than 1,000 trucks were queuing up on the M20 motorway back towards London while several passengers had scrapped their bookings as the Port of Dover and ferry operators attempted to clear the backlog of services.

The English Channel is one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, particularly over the 25-mile (40-kilometre) stretch between Calais and Dover on the southeast English coast.

About 50 ferries normally leave Dover daily around the clock.

"The schedule is shot to pieces," a Port of Dover spokesman told AFP.

"Some services are getting in and it's a wait-and-see situation.

"We've got more than 1,000 trucks queuing on the M20 waiting to get into the port, which is very busy with traffic.

"Ships are out of their slots. It will take eight to 12 hours to clear the backlog provided Calais is fully reopened.

"Most tourists have cancelled their journeys," he added.

Workers at the Calais Chamber of Commerce and Industry are taking industrial action to protest against the sacking of one of their colleagues.

"Services into Calais are being severely disrupted," said a spokesman for P and O ferries.

"We have two ships currently operating on the run. However, there is still considerable doubt as to what will happen in Calais," he said.

"It is not therefore certain that we will continue to operate a service throughout the day; or, service may improve."

Local authorities in and around Dover have grown accustomed to the knock-on effects of industrial action in France.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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