The Freight Transport Association of Ireland said its members have lost millions of euro because of Operation Stack, a traffic control measure in England deployed due to French industrial action and the threat of migrants gaining access to the Channel Tunnel.
The action has led to freight trucks parked or ‘stacked’ along the M20 motorway in England to avoid causing gridlock elsewhere.
FTAI general manager Neil McDonnell said the 28-day long operation impacted on Irish operators, who were travelling across the UK to access Northern Europe.
“We are calling on the French government to compensate operators,” Mr McDonnell said.
“The MyFerryLink industrial dispute has not been resolved and further industrial action is likely before the summer is out. Much of what we have seen around the Port of Calais goes far beyond what anyone could call lawful industrial action,” he said.
FTAI’s members have estimated the additional cost of a diversion via Rosslare to Cherbourg to be a minimum of €300 per trip. It says the estimated cost did not include loss of business, spoilt cargoes, missed export deadlines or the added costs of diverted journeys during Operation Stack.
Mr McDonnell said the FTAI will meet Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe in the coming days to press the case for compensation.
“We look to him to insist that the French government should accept it is liable to all those involved in the extraordinary and in many cases unlawful disruption caused in recent weeks,” he said.
Last month, the FTAI wrote to Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan to express its concerns for hauliers.
“While acknowledging the lawful right of workers to strike, our hauliers have a right of free movement though the EU, and have a legitimate expectation that they can exercise this right without threat to life, limb, or property,” Mr McDonnell wrote.