By Anthony Reuben
BBC Reality Check
- Copyright: PA Media
At least 4,000 lorries could be impacted by the French travel ban and subsequent blockage at Dover, a food industry chief has told MPs.
Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, told the business, energy and industrial strategy select committee: "I don't think the number of trucks in the queue or other areas is the relevant number.
"We reckon about 4,000 on their way to Dover at various points.
"Anyone seeing this all happening in the run-up would have parked somewhere else, somewhere more congenial and in a better state."
BBC Radio 5 LiveCopyright: Getty Images
It is likely to be a slow process getting through the backlog of vehicles waiting to cross the Channel, according to John Keefe from Eurotunnel.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live's Wake Up to Money programme earlier, he said: "If everyone arrived at the same moment, it would be difficult. We run six departures per hour, each one carries 32 trucks... somewhere between 180 and 200 trucks per hour.
"From what we're seeing, there might be some form of testing, so if people have to go through testing first, then it looks like it might start as a trickle rather than a flood," he said.
"Hopefully, it's just 48 hours and hopefully those trucks will eventually go through because the trucks have to get back to their base, the drivers have to get home.
"The logistics and transport process is a circuit; it keeps on running in both directions. It's in everybody's interest that that starts up again soon."
BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg asked the PM at the press conference how confident he is about getting delays through Dover and elsewhere under control.
Boris Johnson says he had an "excellent" conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron, who was keen to get the situation sorted out "in a few hours" if possible.
Sir Patrick Vallance says the new coronavirus variant exists, to some extent, in all parts of the country. But people should "stay local" to prevent its spread, he argues.
There are about 170 lorries queuing on the M20 in Kent as the French closed the border with the UK, the transport secretary Grant Shapps says.
He said Manston would be open as a lorry park, but will not be for large numbers of trucks, but for "management purposes".
Earlier in the day Kent Police said about 500 lorries had been waiting on the M20 as Operation Stack was implemented.
"The vast majority of food, medicine and other supplies" is still crossing the Channel, Boris Johnson said.
The prime minister said "we are working to a solution" with the French to ensure lorries can travel in both ways in a Covid-secure way.
The Department for Transport is continuing to urge hauliers to avoid cross-Channel ports in Kent after the French closed its border with the UK for 48 hours.
Drivers have been warned to expect "significant disruption" around the county's ports in the meantime, with Operation Stack being implemented on the M20.
Passenger ferries and lorry freight bound for France have been suspended from Dover, Portsmouth and Newhaven.
Unaccompanied frieght is still be allowed to make the crossing. Grant Shapps, the transport secretary said.
The M20 is closed coastbound between junction eight for Hollingbourne, and junction 10 for Folkestone.
- Copyright: Reuters
Here's a rundown of some of the key points after France closed its borders to the UK for 48 hours
* Operation Stack has been activated on the coast-bound M20 in Kent.
* Passenger ferries and lorry freight bound for France have been suspended from Dover, Portsmouth and Newhaven.
* Manston Airport is being prepared to take up to 4,000 lorries.
Read more here
- Copyright: Getty Images
Eurotunnel says having a testing regime in place is key to opening up the Channel ports to passengers and freight wanting to cross from the UK to France.
John Keefe, Eurotunnel's spokesman, told BBC Radio Kent all travel from the UK to France had been suspended but Eurotunnel was still open for travel and goods coming in the other direction.
"Everyone who wanted to travel yesterday got away. We put on a couple of extra departures. About 50 trucks didn't make the deadline and are now in Operation Stack."
Mr Keefe said: "People have got to avoid travelling, but we want to be ready to restart as soon as we can.
"A lot of the conversation that's going on is about how we can open up the border again and that's mostly about testing.
"It all depends on how quickly we can get the testing regime in place and how quickly we can get trucks moving again."
Mr Keefe said: "We were expecting things to calm down after the [Brexit] transition ended. We have been carrying huge numbers of freight over the last six to eight weeks.
"A huge amount of stockpiling has gone on."