Travel ban causing mayhem for British ports

Following the French governments announcement to restrict travel from the UK for 48 hours British Ports have been hit with major disruptions. France imposed the new travel restriction over concerns of a new variation of the coronavirus.

The Port of Dover has struck particularly hard and it has suspended to all accompanied traffic leaving the UK for at least 48 hours from midnight 21 December 2020. As major routes for Christmas goods, concerns are rising that stock will be low and there will be possible food shortages if the bans continue.

Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, issued the following statement: "Following the French Governments announcement it will not accept any passengers arriving from the UK for the next 48hrs, were asking the public & particularly hauliers not to travel to Kent ports or other routes to France. My department is urgently working with Highways England and Kent Council on contingency measures to minimise traffic disruption in the area."

A number of other European countries, including Germany, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands have also imposed travel restrictions.

Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive British Ports Association, commented: "This is obviously a concerning development especially given the sudden nature of the decision. Unaccompanied freight is still flowing between the UK and a number of EU states including France and Ireland, for now at least. However the big impact will be on driver accompanied freight and passenger transport. There could a period of disruption at some of the UK’s ferry ports for the next 48 hours so we are urging travellers to look at the advice given by their carriers. It’s not clear if this will last longer. We are also in touch with the Department for Transport who are looking at a number of resilience issues but we are confident that the UK will continue to be supplied.”

UK ministers will discuss the move at a Cobra emergency committee on today (21 December 2020).

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