Dover port declares serious incident as coaches stuck in gridlock on Easter


Coach passengers continue to face hours of delays at Dover port on Saturday after a serious incident was declared on Friday night.

Heavy traffic due to the Easter holidays was cited as one of the reasons, along with “difficult weather conditions” and “long French border formalities”.

Some passengers were held up for 14 hours.

Before 9am on Saturday, a port spokesman said: “Coach wait times are still several hours, but tourist cars are passing without problems.”

Ferry operators P&O Ferries and DFDS Seaways have also reported delays. By approximately 2:30 p.m., P&O Ferries said: twitter Passengers should expect waiting times of 2-3 hours.

Reply to one of your comments A company spokesperson said it was difficult to give an estimate and that the entire process “could take about 10 hours from start to finish.”

In a statement on Saturday, the Port of Dover said it was “extremely frustrated with the situation last night and this morning, and in particular on behalf of all ferry operators’ coach passengers who have had to endure long waits at the port.” Stated.

“Freight and car traffic handled steadily despite the additional difficult weather conditions and seasonal heavy traffic, while bus traffic was hampered by lengthy French border procedures and enormous traffic. We have experienced significant delays due to volume,” the statement said.

“Despite considerable pre-planning with our ferry operators, border agency partners and the Kent Resilience Forum, and the success of similar plans to handle a significant number of coaches during the recent half-year, , Additional coach bookings by ferry operators over Easter have affected port operations.”

The port said food and drink were being provided to coach passengers queuing, adding: as possible. “

P&O Ferries said Friday night that the delay was “due to French border control taking time to process each vehicle”. It also said it was clearing the order backlog with additional sailings on Friday night, Saturday morning and Saturday night.

DFDS also reported that there were “serious delays at French border crossings” on Friday night, with coaches waiting around seven hours after arriving at the port.

Epoch Times photo
Passengers beside a coach at Dover Harbor in Kent, UK, 1 April 2023. (Gareth Fuller/PA)

A man, one of a group of 19 adults and 14 children stranded in Dover port traffic for more than 14 hours, said he was “shocked” by the wait.

Dafyd Francis, a physical education teacher at the Seven Sisters of Nice, is one of 33 traveling from South Wales to Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria.

They arrived at the port at 11:00 on Friday night and waited for boarding at lunchtime on Saturday.

“[I’ve] I’ve never seen anything like it,” Francis, 49, told PA news agency.

“If we are lucky, we will arrive at the resort 14 hours late.Since 1998, I have organized various trips for my school, family and friends.About 50 trips.Next time I will fly.

“We are all outraged and shocked by this situation.”

Labor leader Sir Care Sturmer has urged the government to “know” the situation in Dover.

“I really feel sorry for those who are trying to get over Dover. There will be families who have booked vacations but they will be frustrated again and I think the nature of frustration is ‘never again’.”

“This is not the first time we’ve had problems in Dover. The government needs to figure this out,” he said.

“You can’t always have the same problem every summer vacation or Easter. ”

A government spokesperson said:

“The port says it remains busy, but the situation has improved significantly since yesterday, with coaches being processed at a much faster rate.

“Passengers are advised to check the latest advice from operators before travelling.”

PA Media contributed to this report.