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Channel Blockade Again

French fisherman have formed blockades at Calais, Dunkirk and Boulogne. The blockades started yesterday, 14 April 2009, and are still on-going, with one ferry carrying almost 400 passengers being turned back from Calais. Operation Stack has been implemented on the M20, with hundreds of lorries being held in a queue.

So What What Does This Mean for Business Continuity?

Ferry companies will need Incident Management plans in place to assist in key tasks, such as:

  • Monitoring the developing situation;
  • Handling complaints and claims from delayed passengers (and those unfortunates who made it to Calais only to have to return again);
  • Communicating with customers (both those waiting to travel and those who have booked for travel within the next couple of days);
  • Communicating with key stakeholders, such as Kent Police and the Port of Dover;
  • Handling media enquiries; and
  • Planning for the return to normality, enabling delayed passengers to travel, as well as ensuring that the planned schedule is up and running as soon as possible after the blockades have been lifted.

Businesses reliant on cross-channel transport should have plans in place to ensure that they are also able to monitor the developing situation. A Business Impact Analysis would help to identify critical activities, eg where there are fresh goods in danger of decomposing, or where there are Just-In-Time supplies that are being delivered from a single source provider. A trained Incident Management Team shlould manage the business response, with key tasks including:

  • monitoring the on-going situation;
  • communicating with key stakeholders, such as suppliers and customers; and
  • deciding on alternate strategies, such as the use of alternate providers or alternate transport routes.

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