The UK-French border has reopened after a 48-hour ban on travel across the channel.
The removal of the barrier to entry does – however – carry certain restrictions and requirements. Everyone who travels to France needs to show proof of a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours.
Manston Airfield, which had been turned into a makeshift truck park (pictured above), is the main test centre for hauliers. Drivers can self-administer the test under supervision and then be notified of the result by text message or email.
Those hauliers with negative tests will then be released in batches to managed the flow of traffic. In the case of a positive test, drivers will be moved to somewhere to self-isolate for 10 days.
Since midnight last night, drivers’ hours regs for hauliers have been relaxed to help drivers get through UK borders safely, including via Kent, during the coming weeks.
“It’s hats off to the Secretary of State for Transport for making this happen sooner than originally anticipated,” said Richard Burnett, RHA chief executive. “However, I fear that the thousands of truckers stranded in Kent aren’t out of the woods yet.
Following news of the reopening, Elizabeth de Jong, policy director at Logistics UK, was relieved. “It’s now vital that COVID-19 testing procedures be stood up fast to ensure drivers can get home for Christmas safely.
“The backlog of traffic across the region will take time to clear so hauliers should wait for further news before travelling to Kent,” she added.
Her words were echoed by others, who urged people not to travel to Kent until further notice.