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Home Secretary Theresa May has announced a new “secure zone” for UK-bound trucks at the port of Calais in a bid to tackle the migrants crisis. She announced the plan for a 230-vehicle area adjacent to the ferry port at meeting of the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee and the haulage industry on 14 July. With an estimated 5,000

migrants now in the Calais area - and growing – there has been an upsurge in the number of stowaways trying to break into trucks, problems that were aggravated in July by a strike by former MyFerryLink workers, that brought traffic in the Calais area to a standstill. Mrs May said the new zone

would remove trucks them from the open road where they can become targets for migrants and would “transform” protection for hauliers, some of whom have been threatened with weapons including iron bars.

The freight industry had mixed

views about the plan. The British International Freight Association (BIFA) welcomed it as evidence that the Government is listening to the advice it is getting from the UK’s logistics sector, said director general, Robert Keen. He stated: “Only a month ago,

we called for some additional action from the authorities


France and the UK to step up their protection of the routes across the Channel and fulfil their obligations to let trade move unhindered before serious damage is done to this strategic freight route. If the new secure zone helps to protect hauliers, it is great news for our members that are engaged in cross Channel trade.” Freight Transport Association

deputy chief executive James Hookham said the measure would allow drivers to get out of their cabs “without fear of intimidation”. But Eurotunnel spokesman John Keefe said the zone would

simply move the problem to

the next weak spot, while Road Haulage Association chief executive Richard Burnett criticised the fact that the secure zone would not be in place until autumn. Burnett told the Home Affairs

Select Committee that illegal stowaways could cost the transport industry up to £1 billion a

Issue 5 2015 - Freight Business Journal

Secure zone to tackle Calais migrants

year as contamination or damage was forcing companies to destroy complete shipments. He told the committee: “The

owners of goods have to take the drastic action of scrapping loads as they cannot take the risk that they have been contaminated or damaged. With something in the order of 10,000 loads moving every day across the Channel,

even if only 1% are tampered with or soiled, at a loss rate of about £30,000 per trailer, this equates to about £3 million a day equalling £1 billion a year. That’s a massive and unacceptable cost to our economy and many hauliers are having to absorb large parts of that cost. On top of that are the other enormous costs of vehicles unable to work as a result of being caught for days on


end in Kent and penalty payments for lack of delivery. In addition, the stress caused to drivers is incalculable.” He also criticised Operation

Stack, in which sections of the M20 are turned into a lorry park during disruption, as no longer fit for purpose and called for easily accessible and safe lorry parks on the Kent side of the Channel too.

CakeBoxx offers a safer alternative

Rising concerns over cargo security at ro ro ports could lead to radical new designs for

road trailers and

containers, says specialist shipping container firm CakeBoxx Technologies. The company, which is marketing a new highly secure design of doorless container consisting of two pieces – the deck and the lid - says the technology could be harnessed for other applications, including road trailers. CakeBoxx is considering

using lightweight composite materials for its containers in the future as a more secure alternative to curtainsided trailers. Because the container

lid could be lifted on and off, it would avoid the problems of accessibility often found with box trailer designs – currently the most secure alternative to curtainsiders – which have end doors only. CakeBoxx says that its

container design is more secure than traditional boxes because

cargo can only be

accessed by lifting the ‘lid’ using a forklift, crane, or any other conventional lifting equipment – which is beyond the means of most cargo thieves and people-smugglers - whereas conventional containers and trailers can be accessed by prizing open the doors and/or slashing the curtain.

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