In the North of France sits the ferry port of Calais, which for decades has been the lifeblood of trade between mainland Europe and the UK and Ireland. In more recent times however Calais has become the focal point for the growing European migrant crisis, which continues to be the source of heated debates within the road haulage industry and governments throughout the European Union. With the number of migrants trying to cross the English Channel not showing any signs of shrinking, we look at how road hauliers are key to the European migrant crisis and what this will mean for the industry as a whole.
As people are displaced from countries such as Libya, Sudan, Syria and Iraq there is a growing number of migrants making their way through mainland Europe with reaching the UK being the end goal. As hauliers wait to board ferries at Calais or cross the channel tunnel this is often where the migrants will make their attempts to enter the United Kingdom. In the past 12 months border authorities stopped more than twice the number of illegal migrants trying to cross the Channel than in the same timeframe the previous year.
The current crisis is a clear issue for the haulage industry and is quickly becoming an emergency for the industry. Can the road haulage business hold the key to solving this solution however while also improving the industry as a whole?
How can Road Hauliers help in solving the European Migrant Crisis?
While the current crisis has divided opinion it has at the same time allowed the road haulage industry to work together and make changes, which in the long run will prove beneficial for the industry.
Security of loads has become the number one issue in the current crisis with migrants targeting slow moving traffic which is poorly secured as an opportunity to cross the channel. By putting a microscope on the security of cargo the industry can both reduce the risk of stowaways while also increasing customer confidence and minimizing the risk of losses.
The current crisis has also pushed companies to work together more closely with the international community, which will prove beneficial for the Haulage industry in the long run. The Road Haulage Association is currently campaigning for further collaboration across European companies and governments. This will assess the best way to stop the problems from the drivers on the frontline and this level of collaboration may not only solve the migrant crisis but lead to a more efficient and profitable industry moving forward. Previous initiatives to reduce the number of migrants crossing the channel have targeted haulage companies forcing them to secure their vehicles or face fines, by working together to solve this problem rather than criminalising the drivers then new protocols can be implemented which benefit the industry as a whole.
What are the next steps to solve the crisis?
There is no obvious end to the migrant crisis in sight and the haulage industry is working to minimise the effect this has on the wider industry. It is clear however that with a heightened focus on cargo security and more collaboration and discussion between companies and governments is part of the solution.
While it is undeniable that the current crisis is causing widespread issues throughout the Haulage industry it also offers the chance to review current procedures and improve the whole industry. The opportunity now exists for Haulage companies to work together to minimise the impact on the industry and provide a stronger, more collaborative industry moving forward