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The enormous backlog of trucks in Kent is almost eliminated after a mass Covid test drive


A huge backlog of trucks in Kent with drivers stuck in their taxis over Christmas has been resolved.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the M20 has also reopened after the British Army conducted 21,000 tributary tests with 66 positive results.

Thousands of drivers queued for days to reach the port of Dover and Eurotunnel after France temporarily closed its border on December 20.

The move came after the discovery of a rapidly spreading variant of Covid-19 in the UK, with French authorities easing restrictions on Wednesday.

Around 3,000 freight forwarders were waiting on Christmas day to drive from Kent to France.

On Sunday the DfT announced that only 180 trucks were waiting for the Eurotunnel on the M20.

The department also said there were fewer than 15 trucks at Manston Airport that drivers would be tested on before heading to the port of Dover.

After a week of disruption on the English Channel border, fewer than 200 truck drivers were waiting to travel to France last night, the Ministry of Transport said. Pictured: Today

Thousands of drivers queued for days to reach the port of Dover and Eurotunnel after France temporarily closed its border on December 20. Image: Today

Thousands of drivers queued for days to reach the port of Dover and Eurotunnel after France temporarily closed its border on December 20. Image: Today

This photo shows a quiet Dover for the first time at Christmas when trucks drove into France

This photo shows a quiet Dover for the first time at Christmas when trucks drove into France

Thousands of drivers queued for days to reach the port of Dover and Eurotunnel after France temporarily closed its border on December 20. Image: Yesterday

Thousands of drivers queued for days to reach the port of Dover and Eurotunnel after France temporarily closed its border on December 20. Image: Yesterday

DfT has asked heavy truck drivers to avoid Kent as road transport groups say those who didn't make their way to the border during the festive season will likely be queuing soon.

Drivers wishing to enter France from the UK are now required to provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test carried out in the last 72 hours.

According to the DfT, a total of 17,988 Covid-19 tests had been completed by Sunday.

Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps previously said there had been 36 positive results from the 15,000 drivers who had been tested for coronavirus by noon on Boxing Day.

On Sunday, Transport Minister Robert Courts thanked the employees of the port of Dover, Eurotunnel, the ferry companies P&O and DFDS as well as the volunteers who had provided food and water for the drivers.

The move came after the discovery of a rapidly spreading variant of Covid-19 in the UK, with French authorities easing restrictions on Wednesday. Pictured: yesterday

The move came after the discovery of a rapidly spreading variant of Covid-19 in the UK, with French authorities easing restrictions on Wednesday. Pictured: yesterday

On Sunday the DfT announced that only 180 trucks were waiting for the Eurotunnel on the M20. Pictured: Manston Airport on Boxing Day

On Sunday the DfT announced that only 180 trucks were waiting for the Eurotunnel on the M20. Pictured: Manston Airport on Boxing Day

The department also said there were fewer than 15 trucks at Manston Airport that drivers would be tested on before heading to the port of Dover. Pictured: yesterday

The department also said there were fewer than 15 trucks at Manston Airport that drivers were tested on before heading to the port of Dover. Pictured: yesterday

Mr Courts said, “Hundreds of hardworking, hardworking staff from the back office to the captains who have come together at this festive time have given up their Christmas holidays to ensure that shippers and passengers can find their way as quickly as possible.

“I was very impressed with all of your efforts. We saw the best of Britain during this time.

"The Port of Dover will remain open all Christmas Day and overnight, P&O will operate all night and DFDS will operate on Christmas Day."

Mr Courts added, "There is more to be done, but with progress in clearing the Manston site and working on moving the hauliers at the Brock and Stack operations, the light is on at the end of the tunnel."

A driver wipes his face as part of Operation Stack after the coronavirus outbreak yesterday near Harrietsham as trucks queue up on the M20 motorway

A driver wipes his face as part of Operation Stack after the coronavirus outbreak yesterday near Harrietsham as trucks queue up on the M20 motorway

DfT has asked heavy truck drivers to avoid Kent as road transport groups say those who didn't make their way to the border during the festive season will likely be queuing soon. Pictured: yesterday

DfT has asked heavy truck drivers to avoid Kent as road transport groups say those who didn't make their way to the border during the festive season will likely be queuing soon. Pictured: yesterday

Gusts of wind are depicted as a storm that Bella drove past a ship moored in Dover on Sunday evening

Gusts of wind are depicted as a storm that Bella drove past a ship moored in Dover on Sunday evening

According to the DfT, a total of 17,988 Covid-19 tests had been completed by Sunday. Pictured: yesterday

According to the DfT, a total of 17,988 Covid-19 tests had been completed by Sunday. Pictured: yesterday

Volunteers – including individuals from nearby communities, the Salvation Army, the Al-Khair Foundation Muslim group, HM Coastguard, and Kent County Council – have provided thousands of hot meals and water to drivers.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has coordinated with companies to provide food and water to drivers during the holiday season.

Tesco delivered 600 grocery packages, 24 pallets with staples and thousands of sausage rolls, which were distributed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

And on Sunday, Eddie Stobart Logistics delivered thousands of groceries to the stuck hauliers.

Richard Burnett, Managing Director of RHA said: “Although nothing compares to Christmas with the family, these drivers have been denied it through no fault of their own.

“Providing them with food is the least we can do. This is a great seasonal example of how the industry is banding together to support their own driving community. & # 39;

(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) News (t) Coronavirus (t) Christmas (t) France