While many stay at home during the pandemic, tthe truck world continues. Sunday night, France announced the closing of its borders with Britain to prevent the spread of a more contagious strain of COVID-19. Thousands of truckers were stranded in the UK’s Dover harbor on the English Channel. Now as the travel ban was raised, the huge line of trucks may start to decrease.
O BBC reports about 2,850 trucks have been stuck since the border was closed. The port of Dover handles about 10,000 trucks daily or about 20% of UK trade. The trucks were redirected to nearby Manston Airport during the border closure. The airport has been prepared to receive 4,000 trucks and the views from the waiting trucks are absolutely amazing. In AIRLIVE net Youtube channel:
For comparison, the famous Iowa 80 truck stop – dubbed the largest truck stop in the world – holds only 900 trucks.
Under an agreement between the UK and France, borders were reopened for people traveling to France on urgent grounds. However, as part of the agreement, travelers must have received a negative COVID-19 test less than 72 hours before the crossing. Drivers are receiving rapid lateral flow tests – which can detect new deformation – to get a result in 30 minutes. The new strain is reported to be more contagious, but not more deadly. It seems that experts believe that the vaccine being launched will be effective against this new strain.
Congestion at ports should not be resolved anytime soon and some truck drivers hope to miss Christmas because of this. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps warned truck drivers not to drive to Kent until further notice, via BBC:
I am pleased that we have made this important progress with our French colleagues this evening. This protocol will cause the French border to be reopened for those traveling for urgent reasons, provided they have a certified negative Covid test.
We continue to ask carriers not to travel to Kent until further notice as we work to alleviate congestion at ports.
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Meanwhile, truck drivers help each other spend the nights sleeping in their taxis, sending food and water to each other. Services at the airport truck stop appear to be scarce, even with the bathrooms closed.
I haven’t lifted my chin off the floor yet, but it could be worse. China had traffic jams that lasted almost two weeks!
Fortunately, they can return to the road and perhaps home to enjoy the holidays, safe and sound and without spreading the virus.