Eurotunnel Posts Record Truck Tally as Migrant Intrusion Stemmed

  • Improved security at truck terminal ends disruption to Shuttle
  • Cargo-trains still affected at SNCF yard; ferry service halted

Groupe Eurotunnel SE said a summer of disruption caused by thousands of illegal immigrants seeking to reach the U.K. failed to dent truck numbers on its cross-Channel Shuttle trains, with the total increasing 3 percent to a record 1.48 million last year.

Following the opening in October of a new truck terminal at Coquelles, near the Channel Tunnel’s southern portal, there have been no more intrusions affecting services, Eurotunnel said in a statement Thursday. Freight trains fared less well, with operations down 17 percent due to “pressure exerted by migrants” at SNCF’s at Calais-Frethun yard, it said.

Eurotunnel called on the French and British governments to intervene in July as break-in attempts at its Shuttle terminal reached record levels, with more than 3,500 in just two nights. The incursions, which saw several deaths, topped levels seen in 2002, when an official camp for asylum seekers was shut down.

The number of people using Eurostar International Ltd. express trains was flat at 10.4 million even after the spate of terrorist attacks on Paris. Eurotunnel’s passenger shuttles carried 2.55 million autos in 2015, which though slightly down still increased its share of the cross-Channel car market to almost 53 percent as ferry traffic declined more sharply.

The slump in freight-train numbers through the tunnel was offset by contracts including one for the provision of locomotives to haul the London-Scotland Caledonian Sleeper service, awarded to the company’s GB Railfreight unit.

Eurotunnel said it was “forced to announce” its withdrawal from maritime operations after the U.K. last month confirmed a ban on its MyFerryLink ships operating into Dover on antitrust grounds.

Full-year sales increased 5 percent to 1.22 billion euros, excluding 52 million euros in revenue from MyFerryLink accrued in the first half, Eurotunnel said.

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