BRITAIN MUST revolutionise its approach to haulage with Yorkshire at its centre if it is to be resilient to the disruption of the Calais migrant crisis, according to a leading expert.
The Port of Hull has seen a “significant” increase in the number of haulage traffic, especially container ferries, since the migrant crisis worsened, with desperate companies seeking alternative routes to continental Europe.
Professor Amar Ramudhin, director of the Logistics Institute at the University of Hull said the port is ideally placed to benefit for a “rebalance” of shipping traffic, one that is needed to counteract the industry reliance on southern ports.
He told The Yorkshire Post: “The situation at Calais is just at a starting point. It is not sustainable and we are starting to see how the freight network is not resilient. Shippers need to take a hard look at their supply chains and starting building up resilience for the future so they do not get caught again should Calais go down. They need to think about using Northern ports.”
Increasing the amount of shipping lines and services from Hull could vastly increase the number of containers it handles, Prof Ramudhin said.
His comments come as businesses across Yorkshire continue to count the cost of the migrant crisis, which has seen long delays for haulage firms heading to France from Dover and the Eurotunnel as lorries are forced queue on the M20 in the traffic management tactic, Operation Stack.
It has been implemented 26 times over the last six weeks, and is costing the haulage industry £750,000 per day, and £250m to the UK economy as a whole, according to the Freight Transport Association.
Case study: How the crisis is affecting our haulage industry
Martin Reid, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) Business Unit Director (North) said the “bite” was not just being felt by international hauliers, but also businesses that work solely in the UK by causing mass delays on deliveries. He said its members in Yorkshire have diverted loads through Hull but have been forced to absorb the cost of re-routing.
Mr Reid said the time was right for both the UK and France to deploy troops on the ground to ensure the safety of drivers at Calais.
“It is going to take a long time to find a solution to the numbers of migrants wanting to come across, but in the meantime we need to ensure there is a safe passage from Dover to Calais, and in particular via Eurotunnel,” he said.
North Yorkshire Regional Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses Simon Williams said businesses has “run out of patience” with the delays, which have caused a significant loss of trade and income.
The Department for Transport said there was scope for ports around the UK, including those on the Humber, to accommodate more shipping routes.
In for long haul: Page 6.