Travelers to France advised to bring food and drink for long lines in Kent

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People traveling to France via the Channel Tunnel have been advised to bring food and drink with them as there are long lines at Dover harbour.

Roads in Kent have been hit with long delays in recent days due to a shortage of ferries caused by the suspension of sailings by P&O Ferries after it laid off nearly 800 seafarers without notice.

The operator said it plans to resume operations on the Dover-Calais route next week, pending regulatory approval.

Toby Howe, tactical leader of the Kent Resilience Forum, advised travelers to France to “take a lot of extra time”.

P&O said it plans to resume operations on the Dover-Calais route next week pending regulatory approval (Gareth Fuller/PA)

(PA wire)

He told BBC Breakfast that the delays were caused by “the perfect storm”.

“In Kent we’ve had the perfect storm,” said Mr Howe.

“Yes, we had the HR issue. We then had a storm at sea which prevented many of the ferries from crossing at night.

“We had a few issues with the customs process, etc.

“We had snow then. We had a train in the tunnels at the time, so all these things added up to culminate in the problems we currently have for poor Kent.”

He said there was also an IT problem with document processing.

Mr Howe said: “Luckily things have now been sorted out so that’s not a delay but that was something that added to those initial delays.

Cars waiting to check in at the Port of Dover in Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA)

(PA wire)

“So this past weekend Dover really suffered from all the congestion.

“But we have now put traffic management plans in place so things can flow through Dover and Dover can still function as a city, and Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover can work as they should.”

He added: “Make sure you have something to eat and drink as there will be delays.

“Many of the secondary roads are therefore jam-packed.”

Mr How advised travelers to look at traffic on different routes before traveling.

He said the summer, when traffic is likely to get busier, was a “worry”.

Mr Howe added: “What we need are plans moving forward as any breakout can cause Kent to suffer.

“So we need plans so that we can actually limit the inbound traffic.

“Hopefully that will also help when the ferries are back from P&O.

“But there will always be some problems if we continue with this kind of thing.”

He added that it shouldn’t be Kent that “suffers” every time there are travel problems.

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