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P&O Ferries updates as it suspends all services to Calais until Friday with lorries stuck at Dover

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P&O Ferries has suspended all services to Calais until Good Friday with thousands of lorries stuck at Dover causing yet more mayhem for those trying to cross the channel – as the meat industry is demanding hauliers carrying fresh food are given priority. 

Britain’s busiest port Dover is being forced to contend with a perfect storm of bad weather, a pressure on services due to the Easter holiday rush and continued issues with the ferry service that sacked its workers. 

Some of the British Meat Processors Association’s members have claimed it is taking more than a day to get across the channel and there are concerns that customers in Europe could take their business elsewhere.  

The controversial ferry service P&O has suspended the route from Calais to Dover until Thursday at least, it said. 

Road closures so hauliers can get through traffic jams have also continued in Kent and the M20 has been closed as of 10am. 

In light of this recent announcement, the Department for Transport has not taken any move to change how perishable items are transported.  

P&O Ferries has suspended all services to Calais until Good Friday with thousands of lorries stuck at Dover causing yet more mayhem for those trying to cross the channel - as the meat industry is demanding hauliers carrying fresh food are given priority. (Kent's M20 yesterday)

P&O Ferries has suspended all services to Calais until Good Friday with thousands of lorries stuck at Dover causing yet more mayhem for those trying to cross the channel – as the meat industry is demanding hauliers carrying fresh food are given priority. (Kent’s M20 yesterday)

The controversial ferry service P&O has suspended the route from Calais to Dover until Thursday at least, it said.

The controversial ferry service P&O has suspended the route from Calais to Dover until Thursday at least, it said.

Drivers have also been urged to avoid the M20, the A20 and the A2 as a result of a 23-mile lorry queue yesterday, including more than 2,000 lorries, caused by Operation Brock.

Non-freight traffic is being advised to use the A20 instead of the M20, while freight traffic coming off J8 of the M20 has been sent into holding areas to await clearance before heading to the Channel Crossings.

Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association, told the BBC: ‘We are told to expect disruption well into next week. With Easter weekend approaching and a very busy time for exporting fresh meat, this is really bad timing.’

Lockerbie-based Eardley International said this is putting huge pressure on their fresh meat business, and can mean he loses out on £800 per truck. 

Drivers have also been urged to avoid the M20, the A20 and the A2 as a result of a 23-mile lorry queue yesterday, including more than 2,000 lorries, caused by Operation Brock

Drivers have also been urged to avoid the M20, the A20 and the A2 as a result of a 23-mile lorry queue yesterday, including more than 2,000 lorries, caused by Operation Brock

Graham Eardley, company director at Eardley said: ‘Now we are seeing delays of 20 to 25 hours to cross the Channel, and the quality and the sale value of that product falls by every hour it is delayed.’

Danish shipping company DFDS Seaway says it is also expecting delays today and has said: ‘Were expecting a busy day here in Dover today. 

‘Please allow at least 90 minutes to complete the check-in process & border controls at Port in addition to journey time.’

While P&O also suspended its Larne and Cairnryan service until including and up to Tuesday.  

Shane Brennan, chief executive of the Cold Chain Federation, said: ‘The UK is getting a growing reputation for being a hassle to serve, and that creates problems for my members who can’t find the hauliers to take their business because they don’t want to take the risk of sitting in traffic on the M20.’ 

Danish shipping company DFDS Seaway says it is also expecting delays today and has said:'Were expecting a busy day here in Dover today. Please allow at least 90 minutes to complete the check-in process & border controls at Port in addition to journey time.'

Danish shipping company DFDS Seaway says it is also expecting delays today and has said: ‘Were expecting a busy day here in Dover today. Please allow at least 90 minutes to complete the check-in process & border controls at Port in addition to journey time.’

A very busy terminal 2 at London's Heathrow Airport yesterday as people head off for Easter holidays

A very busy terminal 2 at London’s Heathrow Airport yesterday as people head off for Easter holidays

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: ‘P&O’s unacceptable actions have resulted in its vessels being detained, causing backlogs and traffic jams which would be substantially alleviated if its fleet was operating normally…’

Its working with Kent Resilience Forum, police and regional leaders to help. 

Airports in contrast are looking less busy today with travellers at Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester all reporting short queues getting through security.  

British Airways had previously cancelled 84 domestic and European flights so far on Sunday, which were mainly axed a few weeks previously due to them having to reduce their schedule, while easyJet has grounded at least 38 flights so far. 

A spokeswoman for easyJet said: ‘We will operate 1571 flights today with a small proportion having been cancelled in advance to give customers the ability to rebook onto alternative flights. We are sorry for any inconvenience for affected customers.’ 

‘We will continue to manage the higher than usual sickness rates through advance cancellation of a small proportion of flights over the coming days.’

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