Port of Dover declares critical incident as heavy traffic causes delays


He Port of Dover declared a critical incident as heavy traffic caused long delays for coach passengers.

It comes as operators P&O Ferries and DFDS Seaways also reported delays to ferry and bus services, citing bad weather and delays at French border controls are partly responsible for waiting times and queues.

DFDS announced on Twitter just after 9 p.m., the waiting time for buses is about seven hours from arrival at the port.

P&O Ferries tweeted that it is providing refreshments to coach passengers waiting at the cruise terminal and working to deliver food and drink to passengers waiting in the buffer zone at the entrance to the port.

The port said the heavy bus traffic was due to the Easter holidays.

A spokesman said: “The port of Dover can confirm that a critical incident is underway as the port is currently experiencing heavy bus traffic due to the Easter holiday.

“Our current high volumes, combined with extensive processing at border controls, has resulted in lengthy delays for coach passengers.

“The port, ferry companies and other partners are working hard to solve the current problem.”

The port added: “We apologize for any inconvenience these delays may have caused to passenger travel and we thank all port users for their patience at this time.”

DFDS Seaways and P&O Ferries also announced delays in their services.

The first said bad weather was partly responsible for queues.

A spokesperson for the operator said: “The queues at Dover today are due to bad weather, which has delayed sailings, combined with high volumes of traffic, and bus groups in particular.

“DFDS is working to keep passengers informed through its website and social media channels, and will ship passengers on the next available sailing once they have checked in.

“It is also working with coach operators to speed up the check-in process for coach passengers.”

Both DFDS and P&O have posted updates on Twitter.

P&O Ferries Updates tweeted at 7:40pm that the delay for buses was due to “the time it takes to process each vehicle at French border controls”.

“We apologize for the waiting times and we have sailed extra tonight to clear the backlog,” the operator added.

The company posted on multiple points on Friday: “We know it is very busy today and we want you to know that we are doing everything we can to get all customers up and running as quickly as possible.

“We know this isn’t the ideal start to your journey, but our teams are ready to welcome you on board once you’ve checked in.”

DFDS UK Updates tweeted at 7:07pm, which returns to France were running with delays of “up to 2 hours because of the wind in the canal”.

At 11:18 am on Friday morning, the company tweeted that bus traffic was “very busy” with “120 minutes of waiting” at border checks.