Eurotunnel, the company which operates the Channel tunnel reported rail traffic plummeted by a third over the three months to the end of September, thanks to “intense migrant pressure” disrupting operations in Calais.
From July to September just 459 freight trains used the tunnel, down from 681 a year ago, and tonnage tumbled 27 per cent.
The number of rail freight trains using the tunnel was down eight per cent, to 1,995 trains, over the first nine months of the year, as migrants detained in Calais tried to storm the tunnel repeatedly over the summer.
Despite this, the revenues for the rail network were up one per cent from this time last year to €83.9m over the three months to the end of September, and total revenue for the group was up three per cent, to €334.4m (£242m).
The company said its new services to Lyon and Marseille had helped boost Eurostar's performance, and contributed to a two per cent increase in the number of passengers over the first nine months of 2015 compared to 2014.
It also said the UK's “continuing economic growth”, and to a lesser extent the Eurozone's recovery, had helped buoy the business and “British customers, who now favour the Continent for their holidays, as it is both an easier and safer destination to reach” were vital in setting passenger records over the summer.
In July, for the first time, Eurostar carried more than one million passengers in a month.
Jacques Gounon, chairman and chief executive of Eurotunnel said:
Eurotunnel’s revenues have increased despite the migrant pressure which affects the Port of Calais and the Channel Tunnel. Eurotunnel appreciates the support of the British and French governments for this vital link for the European economy and the circulation of people.
The company has been forced to improve its security, and is installing 29km of high fences, and doubling its security team, to almost 250 people including dog teams, in an effort to prevent further break-ins to the tunnel.
It said this was being financed by Britain's Border Force and France's SNCF Réseau, and they would claim reimbursement from the two governments for any additional costs, from searches of shuttles and stopping migrants.
Investors seemed relieved that effects of the disruption over the summer has not been worse: shares in Eurotunnel were up 4.21 per cent in afternoon trading.