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Last summer’s (2015) trouble in Calais, France led to unprecedented problems to the point that local officials decided to invoke Operation Stack. For weeks, local residents living near the M20 in Kent endured the nightmare right alongside lorry drivers who waited in queues as long as 35 miles at their peak. Given that we offer HGV training in Kent, we are acutely aware that the logistics industry cannot afford a repeat this summer. Operation Stack needs fixing.

The problem faced by our industry and the government is figuring out how to fix a broken system. Operation Stack was first implemented in 1988 to provide a means of traffic control in the event that the weather, strikes, or other events interfered with channel crossings. Although the operation was not ideal back in the day, it served its purpose well enough. The same cannot be said today.

Lorry traffic across the channel in both directions has increased exponentially over the last 26 years. In its current form, Operation Stack appears to do more harm than good, at least on this side of the Channel. Last year’s fiasco choked roads for weeks on end while costing the logistics industry some £750,000 per day.

Everyone Deserves Answers

For its part, the government said it is looking at ways to fix Operation Stack in order to alleviate problems for local residents and give the logistics industry a palatable alternative. However, not everyone is impressed with the recommendations that have come forth from the House of Commons in recent weeks. The Freight Transportation Association (FTA) is among the critics of those recommendations.

According to the FTA’s Malcolm Bingham, a solution that effectively manages traffic flow through the port and tunnel needs to be found. If that solution involves constructing a larger number of parking spaces for lorries, Bingham says the local community deserves full disclosure and transparency. There are currently only 550 parking spaces, forcing lorry drivers to queue along the motorway when things get especially congested.

We agree with the FTA that everyone involved needs answers sooner rather than later. The problems with Operation Stack are only a mere inconvenience for our HGV training in Kent, but they are a massive headache for the logistics industry as a whole. It is time to update an antiquated system of handling traffic flow with new ways of doing things that will not cripple such a significant portion of motorway every time the weather gets rough or the French decide to strike.

While the government is hopefully working on a solution, we are committed to continuing to offer high-quality HGV training in Kent as well as dozens of other locations throughout the UK. Our training is among the best in the business thanks to our fast-paced and intense training approach that guarantees success for almost all of our students. We invite you to inquire about our HGV training if you are looking for a great career that offers competitive pay and job security.

 

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