More than 400 Portuguese truckers still stuck on the wrong side of the English Channel have had to accept that they will be spending Christmas in their cabs.
The lifting of the blockade imposed by France earlier this week is just taking too long resolve.
Some drivers have been sitting with a negative Covid test alongside them ‘waiting to be collected’.
Union ANTRAM recognises that the logistics of getting their members out of UK have been ‘practically impossible’.
The bottom line is that this hideous episode that followed the ‘panic’ about a more transmissible variant of Covid-19 has cost Portuguese companies around €3 million – and truckers are still a very long way from home.
Talking to SIC television news earlier today, secretary of state for the communities Berta Nunes said a team from the Portuguese government was ‘on the ground’ in Dover, but she admitted it had arrived somewhat late in the drama.
Other countries had managed to get warm food and supplies to their compatriots much earlier.
Berta Nunes explained the delay was caused by Portugal’s understanding that the blockade would be resolved within 30 hours.
Now, it’s easy to see that many of the Portuguese stuck in Dover may not get away today, let alone tomorrow.
Rogério Nunes is one who has been describing the snail’s pace of the exit operation. In two days, he appears to have ‘moved forwards’ less than 500 metres – and at the time of being interviewed he had had his negative Covid test in his possession for more than 12 hours: “no one has come by to collect it”, he told reporters.
SIC stresses truckers are not impressed with the Portuguese government’s response.
Nunes described how Tesco’s had actually tried to get supplies to the truckers who make deliveries from Portugal, but were ‘barred by the police’.
By now, with any luck, Rogério Nunes and all the other Portuguese drivers will have received some fresh food and much-needed supplies. But one thing is certain, they won’t be having a Happy Christmas.