BPA Objects to New Quarantine Rule for Cross-Channel Ferry Passengers
The UK government is imposing a new 14-day self-quarantine requirement for passengers arriving from France and the Netherlands, citing a spike in daily coronavirus case counts on the other side of the Channel. However, the decision has drawn criticism from the British Ports Association, which argues that it will have a negative effect on ferry operators.
"This is extremely disappointing news and while we fully understand the difficult situation the government is in, this is very sudden and will cause much disruption at the peak of the summer season. With travel to and from France and the Netherlands soon to be covered along with Belgium and Spain, the overwhelming majority of the UK’s international maritime passenger operations will be impacted," BPA chief executive Richard Ballantyne warned in a statement.
According to BPA, passenger traffic provides an important revenue stream for the ro/pax ferry operators that carry the majority of the UK's consumer imports across the Channel.
"While hauliers and ships’ crew are at least largely exempt this will hit passenger operators hard at a key time. It could also create logistical challenges for many people visiting the UK or returning from their holidays abroad and some will potentially rush to get back to home in the next 24 hours," Ballantyne said.
Beginning Saturday, the decision will affect thousands of passengers, including British nationals who are taking their summer vacations in France. Some groups of professionals and other travelers are also exempt from the new self-quarantine provisions, including certain medical workers, government personnel, seafarers, transportation workers and seasonal farm workers.