While many remain at home during the pandemic, the drives the world forward. Sunday night, France announced the closure of its borders with the United Kingdom to prevent the spread of a more contagious strain of COVID-19. Thousands of truckers were stranded at Dover’s English Channel port. Now as the travel ban has been lifted, the massive queue of trucks may begin to shrink.
That The BBC reports ca. 2,850 trucks have been stranded since the border closure. The Dover gate handles about 10,000 trucks daily or approx. 20 per cent of UK trade. Trucks were diverted to nearby Manston Airport during the border closure. The airport was ready to accommodate 4,000 trucks and the view of waiting trucks is absolutely stunning. From AIRLIVE net Youtube channel:
By comparison, the famous Iowa 80 Truckstop – dubbed the world’s largest Truck Stop – only has only 900 trucks.
Under an agreement between Britain and France, the borders reopened to people traveling to France for urgent reasons. However, as part of the agreement, travelers must have received a negative COVID-19 test less than 72 hours before the crossing. Drivers receive rapid lateral flow tests – which can detect the new strain – to get a fast 30-minute result. The new tribe is reported to be more contagious but not more deadly. It seems that experts feel that the vaccine being rolled out will be effective against this new strain.
The congestion in the ports is not expected to clean up anytime soon and some truckers expect to miss Christmas because of it. Transport Secretary Give Shapps warned trucks not to drive to Kent until further notice, via BBC:
I am glad that we have made this important progress with our French colleagues tonight. This protocol will see the French border reopened to those traveling for urgent reasons, provided they have a certified negative Covid test.
We continue to urge carriers not to travel to Kent for the time being as we work to alleviate congestion in ports.
Meanwhile, the truck drivers help each other sleep through their nights and sleep in their cab by sending each other food and water. The services at the airport truck stop seem to be thin as the toilet is even closed.
I still haven’t taken my jaw up off the floor, but it could be worse. China had traffic jams it lasted almost two weeks!
Hopefully they can get back on the road and maybe home to enjoy the holidays, safely, healthily and without spreading the virus.