British association, Logistics UK, says it is “urgently seeking” further details following the decision by France to close its UK border for 48 hours to accompanied freight traffic.

The move comes as a new strain of COVID-19, believed to be more transmissible, was discovered in the UK and led to British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson putting many parts of South East England, as well as London, into a more severe form of lockdown.

“Logistics UK is aware that accompanied freight from the UK is not being allowed access to France for 48 hours; Logistics UK is very concerned about the welfare of drivers travelling from the UK to France at this time and is urgently seeking more information for our members,” said Logistics UK general manager, Alex Veitch.

“Driver health and safety is our key concern, and it is essential they continue to be recognised as key workers and given access to testing, if necessary, as a priority to ensure the continued movement of goods to and from France.

“Shoppers should not panic buy – retailers will be making every effort to ensure there is stock within the system, including fresh produce and it is important we remember inbound traffic still has access to the UK. We are maintaining close contact with UK government to ensure supplies of fresh produce are available throughout Christmas and the New Year.

“Our advice to members is to check with ports before travelling and keep in close contact with drivers to ensure their welfare is maintained.”

One of the UK’s busiest ports, Dover, has been pictured with huge queues of lorries stretching back from the harbour, while reports are also circulating that a nearby airport of Manston is being used to temporarily park trucks. The situation is compounded by concerns surrounding Brexit and the usual, seasonal peak in Christmas freight orders.

Logistics UK (formerly FTA) represents logistics businesses and more than 7m people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods.