The company that runs the Channel Tunnel really can’t cope with the migrant crisis

Towards the tunnel, they march.
Towards the tunnel, they march.
Image: Reuters/Pascal Rossignol
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The Eurotunnel, the company that operates the important link between the UK and France under the English Channel, announced the number of freight trains using the tunnel fell by 33% in the third quarter.

It blames the cuts in train traffic on the European migrant crisis, where services are regularly disrupted by the hundreds of people who continue to risk their lives sneaking onto trains and trucks, with some even walking on the train tracks to try to cross into England.

In the last week, one migrant was killed after being hit by a freight train and another died after being hit by a car. Sixteen people have been killed trying to get to the UK since June.

The tunnel crosses from Dover to Calais, where an infamous migrant camp has become a fixture. The number of people fleeing war, persecution and poverty in the camp—subbed “the Jungle”—has nearly doubled to 6,000.

The French government has bowed to increasing pressure to deal with the growing crisis at its doorstop. They’ve agreed to build a permanent refugee camp, which will house 1,500 people, after closing a similar one 13 years ago, and the authorities announced that women and children will receive heated tents as temperatures drop.

While the company’s revenue rose by 3% to €334.4 million ($378 million) in the third quarter from the same period last year, rail-freight tonnage fell by 27% and the number of freight trains using the tunnel was down by 33% in the same period. But passenger traffic rose by 2%.