Refugee crisis: Eurotunnel sends €29m claim to British and French governments to cover Calais costs and lost revenues

Traffic on the car shuttle and Eurostar was also hit by the Paris terrorist attacks in November

Eurotunnel estimates services will not resume before 5pm
Eurotunnel estimates services will not resume before 5pm

Eurotunnel has sent a €29m (£23m) bill to the British and French governments to cover the costs incurred and revenues lost due to the refugee crisis in Calais last year.

In the first half of the year the company had put in a claim for €11m, much of which was to cover the cost of extra security and fencing at its Coquelles terminal.

In the second half the bill jumped to €18m, even though the two governments then took over both the responsibility and the costs for completing the extra 37 kilometres of fencing and installing another 500 cameras and 1,000 lights.

“In the second half, the majority of the claim is for lost revenues and the provision of extra staff, particularly in security,” said a spokesman for Eurotunnel.

“Once the final piece of the fence was completed in mid-October, it all changed. We have not had a single disruption since then and November and December saw record months for truck traffic.”

The refugee crisis peaked in early October when 200 refugees made it into the Channel tunnel on 3 October.

Traffic on the car shuttle and Eurostar was also hit by the Paris terrorist attacks in November. The spokesman said it was impossible to say how quickly the two governments would respond to Eurotunnel’s claim, but that there were clear precedents for compensation payments.

“Business remains dynamic, led by growth in the British economy and signs of improvement in Europe,” said the chief executive Jacques Gounon. “Despite an uncertain global environment, the group remains confident in its ability to generate sustainable growth both in cross-Channel and rail freight activities.”

The Channel tunnel operator’s headline earnings rose modestly by €3m to €542m last year, without any allowance for the compensation claims it has made.

“The security of the fixed link being the responsibility of the two governments, a claim for €29m has been made via the [Channel Tunnel] Intergovernmental Commission to compensate, essentially, the revenue losses because of migrant pressure,” Eurotunnel said in its full-year profit statement.

It now expects Ebitda, or underlying earnings, to rise to €560m this year and €605m in 2017.

Eurotunnel’s share of cars crossing the Channel rose to a record 53 per cent.

Its shares fell 1 per cent to €9.546 on the Paris bourse.

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