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Chaos in Kent as 23-mile stretch of M20 closed due to ferry shortage

Traffic on main routes in Kent have been introduced to a standstill once more due to delays in Channel crossings.

A 23-mile coastbound stretch of the M20 was closed from junction eight (Maidstone) to junction 11 (Westenhanger) to retailer 1000’s of lorries heading for the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel as half of Operation Brock.

This is inflicting chaos on surrounding native roads.

Thousands of lorries are queuing on the M20 (Gareth Fuller/PA)

(PA Wire)

The A20 Roundhill Tunnel is closed below the Dover TAP scheme to stop HGVs leaping the queue.

Delays to Channel crossings are being pushed by the suspension of P&O Ferries sailings after the operator sacked almost 800 seafarers with out discover final month.

This is placing extra pressure on different ferry operators amid elevated demand as many households journey abroad for Easter holidays.

DFDS stated P&O Ferries prospects shall be unable to switch their bookings onto its Dover-Calais sailings between Friday and Sunday as a result of of a scarcity of capability.

Operation Brock includes utilizing a moveable barrier to create a contraflow system enabling lorries to queue and different site visitors to preserve transferring in each instructions.

However, the system has been overwhelmed, with Kent hit by lengthy queues on daily basis since Friday.

The Port of Dover urged passengers to “allow plenty of time for their journey”.

It stated in a press release: “Last weekend, port staff together with ferry operators and Kent partners worked tirelessly to move traffic as effectively as possible.

“We served 30,000 departing passengers, triple that of the corresponding weekend in 2021.

“Tourist vehicles moved continuously through the port, with no queuing outside the port.

“Unfortunately, the commencement of the busy Easter getaway period coincided with the ongoing impact of reduced ferry services and bad weather that affected remaining operators earlier in the week, causing one vessel to be taken out of service for a couple of days. This caused some delays, notably for freight.

“The remaining ferry operators are now back to their full complement of ships and the Port of Dover will be working with our operators and Kent partners, including the local resilience forum, National Highways and Kent Police to ensure passenger journeys are as smooth as possible.”

Ashford MP Damien Green referred to as for modifications to be made to Operation Brock.

He instructed KentOn-line: “What we need is to make Brock work.

“We have established that up until now it does work, even in times of stress because the motorway is kept open.

“Once you close the motorway it makes it impossible, so the Kent Resilience Forum needs to look at what changes need to happen so Brock can cope with what is a very unusual situation, where more than half of the freight-carrying capacity at Dover has disappeared in one time.”

P&O Ferries introduced on Wednesday that it’s making ready to resume cross-Channel sailings.

A spokesman stated: “P&O is looking forward to welcoming back vital services and we expect to have two of our vessels ready to sail on the Dover-Calais route by next week, subject to regulatory sign-off, namely both the Pride of Kent and Spirit of Britain between Dover-Calais.”

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