France: Travel ban for lorries 'could last 48 hours' says expert
DHL said it was halting the deliveries as transport bans have been placed on Britain. The news comes as many Britons await their last-minute Christmas gifts to arrive.
The new variant of coronavirus has seen EU countries ban travel from the UK.
France is among a number of countries to halt travel, banning all forms of travel coming from the UK.
It led to chaos overnight and miles of queues of lorries on the motorways near the Port of Dover.
More than 30 countries have now restricted travel from the UK.
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While DHL will still be able to bring in parcels and letters to the UK via cargo flights, the suspension of road services is likely to have an effect.
In a statement, DHL said: “As many of you will have heard on the news, due to fears about the spreading of the latest variant of coronavirus, travel links between the United Kingdom and several EU countries including France have been suspended. Ferry ports as well as the Eurotunnel service have been closed.
“This has an immediate impact on our road services (DDI) between both the UK & the Republic of Ireland, and all other continental destinations.
“As a consequence DHL Express unfortunately needs to suspend its road services (DDI) both into and out of the UK, with immediate effect and until further notice.
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“Although technically trucks can still enter the UK from mainland Europe, vehicles will be unable to return from the UK thereafter.”
The company added that because all road material from the Republic of Ireland to mainland Europe transits the UK, they will also need to suspend those services too.
The statement added: “Please note that our Air Express product, Time Definite International (TDI), is available as currently despite the limitations placed on passenger aircraft, there are no impacts on cargo flights. This will be subject to continuous review, as the situation is fluid and authorities might impose tougher restrictions.
“If you would like to convert road based DDI volumes to our Air Express product (TDI), please ensure you advise your account manager in order to make the right arrangements for your shipments, and to confirm terms and conditions where needed.”
The company had already made a decision to halt the delivery service from December 23 from the EU to the UK due to Brexit, but this has now been pulled forward.
The statement continued: “As we are expecting a surge in TDI volumes, and as total available capacity is limited, your account manager will be able to help to manage and control the expected volumes.
“Please also note that there is a difference between what can be accepted as road based shipments (ADR regulations) and what is acceptable in our air Express network (IATA regulations) – for example the shipping of lithium batteries and dangerous goods, etc.
“Please reach out to your DHL representative if you require additional information on any of the above. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and update you if anything changes.”
Supermarkets have also feared major shortages on fresh foods after France closed its UK border.
Sainsbury’s has warned some products could be missing from shelves due to restrictions at ports, but said food such as Christmas groceries will still be available.
The supermarket told Express.co.uk: “We will start to see gaps over the coming days on lettuce, some salad leaves, cauliflowers, brocolli and citrus fruit.”
It added it is “sourcing everything that it can” and is “looking into alternative transport for products sourced from Europe.”
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