The Port of Dover has declared a "critical incident" as high levels of Easter holiday traffic continue to cause "significant delays".

It comes as operators P&O Ferries and DFDS Seaways reported delays to ferry and coach services, citing bad weather and hold-ups at French border controls as partly responsible for waits and queues.

DFDS announced on Twitter just after 9pm last night that the wait time for coaches was approximately seven hours from arrival at the port.

P&O Ferries tweeted due to the lenghty waits, it was providing refreshments to coach passengers waiting at the cruise terminal and working on getting food and drink to those in the buffer zone at the entrance to the port.

Addressing the delays yesterday, a Port of Dover spokesperson said: “The Port of Dover can confirm that a critical incident is under way as the port is currently experiencing high volumes of coach traffic due to the Easter holidays.

“Our present high volumes, combined with extended processing at border controls, has resulted in lengthy delays for coach passengers.

“The port, ferry operators and other partners are working hard to resolve the current issue.

“We apologise for the inconvenience these delays may have caused to passenger journeys and thank all port users for their patience at this time.”

The Port of Dover "deeply frustrated" as "significant delays" continue

According to PA Media, The Port of Dover said this morning it was “deeply frustrated” that coach traffic was still suffering “significant delays”.

The Port said in a statement: “The Port of Dover is deeply frustrated by last night’s and this morning’s situation and particularly so on behalf of all the ferry operators’ coach passengers who have had to endure such a long wait at the port.

"Whilst freight and car traffic was processed steadily regardless of the additional challenging weather conditions and high seasonal volumes, coach traffic suffered significant delays due to lengthy French border processes and sheer volume.

thisisoxfordshire: The Port of Dover has declared a critical incidentThe Port of Dover has declared a critical incident (Image: PA)

“Despite considerable pre-planning with our ferry operators, border agency partners and the Kent Resilience Forum and the success of similar plans for processing substantial numbers of coaches during the most recent half term period, the additional coach bookings taken by ferry operators for Easter, has impacted operations for the port.

“Through the ferry operators and the port, food and drink has been provided to those coach passengers caught up in the border queues.

"We offer our sincere apologies for the prolonged delays that people have endured and continue to work with all of our partners to get all passengers on their way as quickly as possible.”

A spokesman for the Port of Dover added just before 9am: “Coach waiting time is still several hours, but tourist cars are getting through OK.”

Operators still reporting several hour waits at Dover Port

DFDS Seaways were still reporting waits of up to two hours for car traffic to pass through controls and check-in this morning.

While P&O Ferries Updates posted saying its Saturday morning departures from Dover Port were all on time.

P&O Ferries Updates have been keeping passengers informed on social media of the situation throughout Friday and into this morning.

P&O Ferries Updates on Twitter on Friday said: “We apologise for the wait times and have put on an extra sailing this evening to help clear the backlog.

“We know it’s really busy today and we want you to know that we are doing all we can to get all customers on their way as quickly as possible.

“We know this isn’t the ideal start to your trip but our teams are ready to welcome you onboard once checked in.”