The Port of Dover reports a “critical incident”, blaming a four-hour wait to the ferry terminal on “woefully inadequate” French border control.
The port apologised to holidaymakers and HGV drivers who were still stuck in queue this morning, saying they were “deeply frustrated” with the Police Aux Frontieres (PAF), who had fallen short of a successful first weekend of the peak summer getaway period.
Doug Bannister, the port’s CE told BBC Kent that French border controls were “insufficiently resourced,” and that the port and its users had been “badly let down.”
According to reports, just six of the 12 passport booths operated by French customs officials at Dover are currently open.
Travellers who have been waiting in five-hour queues to complete border checks before checking in for their ferry have described “zero movement” on Twitter.
Eurotunnel is unaffected, although it will be unable to take passengers from Dover.
In a statement, the port claimed it had made “significant investment” in the run-up to summer, boosting interim French border control booths by 50% and improving traffic systems.
A team of newly trained “passenger champions” has been on standby to help customers who have become stranded at the port.
“The Dover route remains the most popular sea route to France and France remains one of the key holiday destinations for British families,” the Port concluded in its statement.
“We know that resource is finite, but the popularity of Dover is not a surprise. Regrettably, the PAF resource has been insufficient and has fallen far short of what is required to ensure a smooth first weekend of the peak summer getaway period.
“We will continue to work with all Kent partners to look after those caught up in the current situation,”
The UK faces more traffic disruption as the Fuel Price Stand Against Tax campaign group claims fuel protests will be held today in Birmingham, Cardiff, Liverpool, London and Manchester.