Strikes by mooring staff in Calais have halted ferry traffic across the English channel, in turn activating Dover’s traffic queuing system along with Operation Stack.
Earlier this morning, Kent’s Highway Services announced that the Dover Traffic Access Protocol (TAP) scheme had been implemented on the A20 at Aycliffe because of heavy freight volumes.
The strike started at 8am CET and will continue for the next 24 hours:
Following a 24-hour notice of strike from the harbor master’s office, from Thursday 24 September 2020 at 8:00 a.m., very strong disruptions are expected at the port of Calais
For more information, contact your ferry company pic.twitter.com/FJmJUDsnd0
— Port de Calais (@calaisport) September 24, 2020
Meanwhile, the Port of Dover have said that they will „continue to monitor the situation closely” and liaise with their partners at the Port of Calais.
Then, at approximately 12.20pm UK time, Highways England announced that Operation Stack had been triggered between J8 #Maidstone and J9 #Ashford.
A diversion route is available via the #A20.
Please allow extra time for your journeys. pic.twitter.com/fYKKuCTpH7
— Highways England (@HighwaysSEAST) September 24, 2020
To try and help drivers get around the disruption, DFDS have announced extra sailings between Dover and Dunkerque.
DOVER PORT: Freight traffic is busy. Operation Stack is in place, M20 closed J8-J9 Coast bound. Diversion available via A20. Freight check in time: Dover-Dunkerque 18:00 To support with Industrial Action in Port of Calais we have increased the schedule between Dover<>Dunkerque pic.twitter.com/aeNHTW87Y1
— DFDSChnlFreight (@DFDSChnlFreight) September 24, 2020
For those unfamiliar with Operation Stack, it is a mechanism UK police can use to park or „stack” lorries on the motorway when there is disruption to services at crossings such as the Channel Tunnel or Port of Dover. The disruption could be a result of many things, including poor weather, industrial strikes, fire or extra security checks and border checks. In today’s case, it was the latter.
During Operation Stack, trucks are divided into two queues on each side of the carriageway (on the hard shoulder and lane 3). One is dedicated to traffic headed for the Channel Tunnel, while the other is for port traffic.
A gap is also created in the middle of the motorway so that emergency vehicles have access in the event of breakdowns or medical emergencies. Once the ports are ready, the queues are then released.
Photo credit: Barry Davis / Wikimedia Commons