Uncertainty for haulers using the Calais route

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Due to the recent surge in migrant activity on the route from Calais to Dover, the danger associated with the journey has increased and thus, there are reports that insurance for drivers taking this route has also increased. However the consequences of the migrant crisis in Calais is still not completely clear.

Recently, activities on the route have become more treacherous for drivers. Indeed, smugglers have begun using trees as road blocks during the night to force haulage vehicles to stop, whilst migrants are loaded onto the Lorries.

Hauliers are demanding that more be done to protect them and lower the risk of the journey, in response, the construction of a large wall around the port of Calais has commenced, but it is unknown what effect this will have in actuality.

The latest reports of acts of violence commencing against truck drivers could indeed lead to an increase of employer’s liability. Victoria Wright, Weightmans associate stated that “Hauliers must consider employers’ liability claims against them if they fail to protect employees from a known risk.” She goes on to say that the Calais migrant crisis has even forced hauliers to avoid the area altogether, choosing instead to take alternate, longer routes to ensure the drivers safety. Though, these new alternate routes usually result in  “increased cost”.

The threat of violence
The reports of violence against truck drivers could raise employers’ liability issues, says Weightmans associate Victoria Wright, commenting: “Hauliers must consider employers’ liability claims against them if they fail to protect employees from a known risk.” She reports that some hauliers have been avoiding the Calais area by using alternative routes, “usually at increased cost”.

However, Graeme Blackie, northern regional manager for marine at Cunningham Lindsey, says there is an issue with drivers’ hours. “The driver knows he can turn up at Calais and keep going. If he has to go to Rotterdam, he sits there for hours and his boss has to pay him even though he is not driving.”

Whilst some hauliers have reported an increase in insurance premiums due to the change of routes, truck insurance should remain the same as you’re usual price. Indeed, policies typically provide cover for a carrier for movement among various territories via a specified transport type in accordance to statute law. To simplify this, insurance is not typically denoted to a specific route, but instead the journey from one territory to another in a given vehicle, with implications usually depending on what the vehicle is used for, how safe the vehicle is and the price of goods it is carrying.

Paule Mayoh, RSA marine risk management surveyor expands on this, and notes how changing cargo routes should not increase the price of your insurance premium:

“It is not usually ‘route specific’, so the carrier can go via whatever route they wish… A similar methodology applies for cargo insurance. It would have no impact on premiums should hauliers or cargo interests choose to use Dieppe or Zeebrugge, or any other crossing to the UK instead of Calais-Coquelles.”