“When the load gets damaged or destroyed – this is only one part. The other part is the fine for the illegal transportation of migrants. The company may have to pay up to £2,000 for one illegal migrant [for each that gets onboard]. The driver also gets a fine for the same migrant, which can amount to £1,000. Imagine a cost of £3,000. And there was a case where there were 16 illegal migrants on board one truck,” said Saulius Petravičius, the head of Agrologistika, a food transportation company.
Even if migrants damage only a small part of the product, the customers often refuse the whole load, leading to large losses for freight companies and suppliers, said Petravičius.
“Our recommendation to transportation companies is when there is such a situation exists not to go to those countries, namely England, and thus avoid the risk. Another thing, if there is no choice, use secured refrigerated vehicles,” said Aon Baltic Project Manager Linas Pikšrys.
However, carriers said that due to high competition in the European market it would be painful to give up routes to Britain.
Migrants wait for trucks going to Britain at Calais and break into their cargo holds by tearing open the tents, braking the refrigerator doors or crawling into where the spare wheel is stored.
The drivers also feel unsafe because they get hit with fines personally of up to £1,000, and migrants threaten them. The situation is only getting worse with migrants now trying to break into trucks not only in France, but also in Germany and Austria.
Lithuanian freight companies said that there were such cases in the past as well, but the current situation is complete chaos.