Travel chaos continued to escalate today as a 23-mile stretch of M20 was closed due to the ongoing ferry shortage.
The motorway was closed from Maidstone to Westenhanger, while thousands of lorries were stuck in bottlenecks on their way for the Port of Dover or the Eurotunnel.
Delays at Channel crossings were driven by a combination of increased passenger demand, as many families travel for Easter holidays, and a scarcity of services driven by P&O’s suspension.
The government’s decision to suspend the ferry operator after last month it sacked 800 members of staff put a strain on competitors, who were forced to cancel bookings.
Ferry operator DFDS didn’t allow P&O customers to transfer their bookings for weekend sailings because of a lack of capacity, while the Port of Dover urged passengers to “allow plenty of time for their journey.”
“Last weekend, port staff together with ferry operators and Kent partners worked tirelessly to move traffic as effectively as possible,” it said in a statement. “We served 30,000 departing passengers, triple that of the corresponding weekend in 2021.
“The remaining ferry operators are now back to their full complement of ships and the Port of Dover will be working with our operators and Kent partners, including the local resilience forum, National Highways and Kent Police to ensure passenger journeys are as smooth as possible.”
It follows today’s news that passengers at UK airports could face two months of disruption as the industry struggles to hire new staff.
Even though aviation bosses, especially at airports are pushing to bring in new crew members, fears are growing at disruption could spill into the summer period.
Manchester Airport, the UK’s third largest airport, has felt the worst of the turbulence, with its managing director resigning on Tuesday and mayor Andy Burnham calling on government to ramp up efforts to bring in new staff, City A.M. reported.