Lorry drivers carrying fresh meat 'stuck in Dover traffic for over 24 hours'

P&O Ferries announcement Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

British hauliers of perishable goods are wanting to be prioritised at the port crossing into Europe, complaining that long wait times are causing products to go bad.

The suspension of P&O services at the Dover terminal as well as bad weather, Easter traffic and IT issues has caused congestion chaos, resulting in long queues for transporters.

According to the British Meat Processors Association, some members have had to wait for over 24 hours to cross, causing meat and other perishables to go bad.

A spokesperson from the organisation said the suspension of the ferries had combined with other issues to create a “perfect storm” of problems with the export process.

Lorries queue up on the M20 near Ashford in Kent as freight delays continue at the Port of Dover. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

“The priority for the authorities should be to help lorries with perishable goods get through as quickly as possible.

“Shelf life is being lost which costs money and creates waste and business will be lost if this continues,” he said.

“We need the authorities to review the situation as soon as possible and take some appropriate actions.”

On Saturday, people travelling to France via the Channel Tunnel were advised to bring food and drink as lengthy queues continued at the Port of Dover.

Freight lorries queue to check in at the Port of Dover Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA

On BBC Breakfast, Toby Howe, tactical lead at the Kent Resilience Forum, advised travellers to France to “allow a lot of extra time”. He said: "We have put traffic management plans in place now so that things can flow through Dover and Dover can still function as a town, and Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover are able to operate as they need to.” He added: “Make sure you have got some food and drink because there will be delays. A lot of the minor roads therefore are chock-a-block.”

He said that summer, when traffic is likely to get busier, was a “worry”. Mr Howe added: “What we need are plans in place moving forward because every getaway, Kent could suffer."