The access terminal to the Channel tunnel in Calais (Pas-de-Calais), December 21. DENIS CHARLET / AFP
In Boulogne-sur-Mer (Pas-de-Calais), the effects of the health blockade imposed since Sunday, December 20 between France and the United Kingdom can already be read on the tense faces of fishmongers, Tuesday, December 22. Capécure is the leading European center for processing fishery products. In this immense industrial port area, 70% of the products processed come from British waters.
Two days before Christmas Eve, the comings and goings of electric pallet trucks on the loading docks were very calm. “Usually, it works 100% during the holidays, here we are at 20%, sighs Michel Mony. This is the first time we’ve seen this. “ This Rungis Marée transport operator has been desperately waiting for his merchandise, which has been blocked since Monday morning in fourteen trucks stuck on the other side of the Channel: “We expect fresh fish, scallops, and shellfish from Ireland and Scotland. If the trucks are not collected on Wednesday, the merchandise will be lost and we will not be able to deliver anything to Rungis. “
The announcement fell abruptly on Sunday at 7 p.m.: France suspends from midnight all movement of people, including those linked to the transport of goods, from the United Kingdom. A situation linked to the spread of the new strain of the coronavirus detected in England and which comes to paralyze exchanges between the British neighbor and the European Union ten days before Brexit. The appearance of a variant of SARS-Cov-2, whose transmission is 40 to 70% greater according to the World Health Organization (WHO), on British territory, isolated the country at dawn end of year celebrations.
Read also Covid-19: nine questions on the new variant of SARS-CoV-2 observed in the United Kingdom
“We are all interdependent”
In Boulogne, a little further on the quay, another transporter, Christmas hat on his head, confirms the decline “Spectacular volumes processed for Christmas”. Hervé Bertiaux, from Transport Mesguen, is expecting a dozen trucks loaded with seafood, mainly from Scotland, destined for the Boulogne logistics hub. “It’s one of the worst Christmases and it’s all the more regrettable that the weather conditions for fishing were good”he said before casting a vexed glance at his nearly empty platform. “Last year at the same time it was full of fish, adds Hervé Bertiaux. The Covid is in addition to Brexit. And I think this pressure from the European Union is a bit of a political game. Let’s not forget that we are all interdependent. “
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