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A number of Fisheries Industry representatives met together with Transport interests and the Scottish Government on 3 August to discuss what can be done to help tackle the current uncertainty that prevails around the Channel Tunnel/ French Ferry dispute.

 

It was agreed that the top priority needed to be to restore satisfactory passage through the Tunnel. The Scottish Government, both at Ministerial and official level have made representations, and continue to make representations to the UK Government, seeking prioritisation for fresh and perishable products given the importance of the Fish/Shellfish Sector to the Scottish and UK economy.  This appears to be the preferred option for most businesses that utilise the Boulogne Hub.

 

While pressure is being maintained on the UK Government to find a remedy, it was agreed that given the uncertainty as to whether there will be an early resolution of the disruption to business; urgent contingency work should be done on identifying alternative solutions.

 

Fresh thinking along these lines would stand the sector in good stead.

As a first step it was agreed that clarity was needed as to the sector’s practical requirements. The following have been suggested as the key points which any alternative solution must meet:

 

  •          Ability to reach the Boulogne hub by 8am local time
  •          Greater certainty/reliability for exporters, and customers
  •          Ability to accommodate both large vehicles and small volumes
  •          Impact on drivers hours/drivers requirements
  •          A price structure which reflect the small margins in this sector

 

In order to understand whether this option is viable there is a need to get some indication of the traffic which uses the Channel Tunnel /Dover Calais corridor.  Specifically we need  an understanding as to the  tonnage throughput levels and whether companies would be willing to utilise an alternative mechanism that could offer the possibility of getting to the Boulogne Hub in time to meet the industry’s needs to meet their European customers.

 

Specifically – in order to give focus to our next discussions with transport interests on Thursday (6 August), we would be grateful to know whether, in the context of continuing Tunnel disruption, if there were alternative arrangements which met the points above you would use them and if so what volumes/value in broad terms you would wish to send. If not what changes to the criteria above would change your mind?

 

If this impacts your business it would be helpful if you could get something back to us by close on Wednesday 5th Aug, if at all as soon as possible. Please respond to:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

 

Many thanks for your assistance on this.

Yours sincerely, 

                       

Jess Sparks,

Technical Manager

Seafood Scotland

 

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