Dover roads ‘free flowing’ for tourists again after travel chaos near port

Travellers have been advised to contact their ferry operator for updates and sailing times after gridlocked roads on Saturday became less congested.

03 April 2022

Tourist traffic near the Port of Dover was “free flowing” again on Sunday after the area was plunged into travel chaos, the port has said.

Travellers have been advised to contact their ferry operator for updates and sailing times after gridlocked roads on Saturday became less congested.

The suspension of P&O services, with three of the company’s vessels at berth in Dover, had been partly blamed for long queues.

Adverse weather in the Channel and congestion caused by tourists travelling to Kent for an Easter getaway were also said to be contributing to the jams.

The port said: “All approach roads to the Port are free flowing for tourists with space in the Port for those arriving today.

“Travellers are asked to contact their ferry operator for their travel updates & sailing times.”

It added that ferry operators were working to get freight traffic through the port as swiftly as possible.

The situation has improved slightly but delays are likely to continue beyond the weekend, the boss of the British Ports Association has said.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast on Sunday, Richard Ballantyne said: “It is a bit better today, we understand.

“Yesterday we were up to nine-hour queues outside the port.

“Traffic measures are in place, which… are working fairly well and it enables other people around east Kent and businesses, residents etc to move around freely.

“But (it is) not a good position if you’re stuck in a vehicle for six to eight hours.”

Drivers had on Saturday been forced to wait for hours to board ferries after measures were triggered to control the movement of HGVs in the area.

Under Operation Brock, lorries heading to Dover are allowed to use one side of the M20 while all other traffic is restricted to a contraflow system on the opposite side.

National Highways said that the M20 remained closed with the operation still in place on Sunday “due to ongoing reduced ferry capacity at the port”.

P&O Ferries announcement
Disruption caused by the suspension of P&O services was partly blamed for the jams

The cross-Channel situation was dealt a further blow when a DFDS ferry, Dover Seaways, hit a berth in high winds on Thursday.

DFDS said in a statement the vessel is being inspected ahead of repairs and it is expected to return to service on Monday or Tuesday.

It added that as of Sunday all services are currently operating to the advertised schedule.

Despite the slight improvement, Mr Ballantyne said authorities are predicting delays will extend into the working week.

He said: “East Kent and the Kent police services… and the very well established operations team at the Port of Dover are predicting this is going to continue for another couple of days, but it is something we just quite don’t know how long it’s going to go on for.”

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