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Corona impact on European logistics, update March 25, 2020

The novel Coronavirus has heavily impacted daily life in Europe and the rest of the world. Keeping supply chains functioning, to make sure the supply to hospitals and supermarkets is guaranteed, is of the utmost importance. As the Netherlands plays a vital role in European supply chains, we receive many questions about the continued operations of Dutch ports, borders and logistics operations. This article provides a brief update on the current situation (March 25) by combining various Dutch sources.

Logistics is considered a vital process
The Dutch government has implemented stricter measures on March 23, limiting gatherings of 3 or more people and a general guideline of keeping a distance of 1.5 meters. It has identified crucial occupations and vital processes that should continue under any circumstance, including the air and sea freight chains, road transport, as well as food and medical supply chains. Employees vital to the operation of these chains can go to work and are, at this stage, still entitled to day-care if needed. In the event of even stricter measures (not expected at this point) the expectation is that abovementioned vital processes will remain in operation.

Sea freight, air freight and warehousing can continue operations
The Port of Rotterdam translates the policy into all functions related to the handling of shipping. This includes “Port and inland terminals, […] Distribution/warehousing and hinterland connections, including inland shipping, rail and road transport and the traffic control services in this context”.

Air Cargo Netherlands has a similar interpretation where all air cargo and downstream activities, including warehousing, are considered vital. Therefore, warehouses and distribution centers can continue operations, taking note of the guidelines of the RIVM.

Strong increase of cargo movements at Dutch airports expected
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS) sees a 30% increase of slot requests for cargo aircraft for next week, Nieuwsblad Transport reports, while Maastricht Aachen Airport (MAA) has seen a similarly steep growth of movements. Both airports and supporting logistics industries are doing what’s necessary to support this growth. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol started showing arrivals and departures of freighters online in real time for coming next four days to provide full transparency.

European Commission asks member states to install Green Lanes at their internal borders
To support the principle that all EU internal borders should stay open to freight and that the supply chains for essential products must be guaranteed, the European Commission has asked all member states on March 23 to establish Green Lanes for truck traffic at their internal EU borders. Waiting times should not exceed 15 minutes, by designating a separate lane for trucks. There is no discrimination between type and origin of the truck as well as type of goods. As this measure will be implemented in the next few days, this interactive map shows real time border crossing times for truck traffic.

Most ferries between the Netherlands and the UK are sailing according to schedule, Nieuwsblad Transport reports. The Eurotunnel shuttle service reports normal operations.

Even in the hardest-hit countries Spain and Italy, distribution centers for food and medical products continue operations, HIDC members report. Supplying them from the Netherlands by air may be challenging due to the limited capacity. Pan-European supplies by road, rail, inland shipping and short sea are still possible.

HIDC open for questions
The Holland International Distribution Council consists of 300 logistics companies, ranging from 3rd party logistics companies to all types of services providers to the logistics industry, such as temporary workforce providers, legal providers, VAT/tax specialists and consultants. We are ready to connect supply and demand for logistic services in Europe. Please contact us for further information.

March 25th 2020

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