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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 March, 2005, 18:55 GMT
Port chaos costs company millions
P&O ferry
Dover to Calais ferry services have been disrupted continuously
A cross-channel ferry operator says it has lost millions of pounds due to on-going berthing problems at Calais.

Passengers have faced weeks of delays since a gangway rope collapsed on 8 February, closing the berth as well as others for repair and safety checks.

P&O Ferries said it had no choice but to seek compensation from the port.

Repairs at the berth are still going on and striking SeaFrance crews caused further problems on Thursday by blocking access to one of the docks.

This is not a good time for us
Chris Layming

Chris Layming from P&O said he expects the delays to continue for several weeks as the Port of Calais had not even started to repair the broken berth.

"We think it is taking far too long for the French authorities to get their act together and the repair work started.

"It has been five weeks now and will take several more weeks to get it back to working order.

"The money lost will run into millions," he said.

Strong winds

Both P&O and SeaFrance share four berths at Calais but at present they are restricted to two - one of which is often taken out of action due to strong winds.

Mr Layming said: "This is not a good time for us... we are very sorry for the disruption it has caused but it is a situation beyond our control.

"It is a bit like telling airlines at Heathrow Airport that they can't use the runway."

The SeaFrance strike by the Rodin crew ended on Thursday afternoon but as a result P&O would not be operating a crossing until 21.50 GMT.


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