Irish hauliers are to meet with Minister of Transport Pascal Donohoe early next month to press the case for compensation over delays related to the migrant crisis in Calais.
The Freight Transport Association of Ireland (FTAI) said many hauliers had been left out of pocket after experiencing massive delays in both the UK and France in recent months.
It has urged Mr Donohoe to press the French government for payouts to help cover losses caused by the introduction of controversial traffic measures in England.
“Operation Stack” - where freight traffic was queued on sections of the M20 in Kent while cross-Channel services were disrupted - ran from June 23rd to August 2nd. It impacted on thousands of hauliers, including many Irish operators, transiting the UK to access Northern Europe.
Long delays on the French side of the Channel resulting from industrial action at the Port of Calias further aggravated the situation as thousands of migrants attempted to stow away in queuing hauliers’ vehicles to gain access to Britain.
The FTAI said Irish hauliers has lost millions of euros arising from the disruptions. Its estimate cost does not include loss of business, spoilt cargoes, missed export deadlines or the added costs of diverted journeys. Members said the additional cost of a diversion via Rosslare-Cherbourg alone came in at a minimum of €300 per trip.
Representatives from the organisation, which are to meet with Mr Donohoe on September 2nd, have previously written to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan, about the disruptions.
"We are calling on the French Government to compensate operators. 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," said Neil McDonnell, general manager, FTAI.
He said the organisation hoped Mr Donohoe would 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.”
Mr Donohoe was criticised last month by the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) for failing to cooperate with the organisation over the disruptions, an assertion rejected by the minister.