CEFIC Recommends Logistics Measures During Covid-19
The European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) has written to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen with a number of recommendations to quickly allow easier and faster transport of essential goods during the coronavirus pandemic.
The move comes as countries within the region close their borders in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19. While plants continue to operate, CEFIC said chemical companies are facing transport restrictions across EU member states, which are causing severe delays with potentially drastic consequences for vital supply chains.
CEFIC said many of its members produce critical substances such as APIs for drugs, plastics for medical equipment and PP fibers for face masks, as well as disinfectants and water treatment chemicals.
The Council is asking authorities to implement a series of measures that include harmonizing procedures for receiving trucks and screening drivers, making accelerated test methods available, organizing internal border controls to prevent large queues forming and supplying sufficient quantities of protective equipment and materials.
In addition, CEFIC is recommending that the Commission establish a central Covid-19 information platform to inform shippers and logistics providers about the status of contingency management efforts, including details of decisions taken by transport ministries.
The platform should also give information on the operational status of European inland border crossings, including a traffic signal system and approximate waiting times.
As transport capacities are already constrained, CEFIC is also suggesting a number of exceptional regulatory moves, such as designating priority lanes for freight transport and waiving current weekend and holiday truck driving bans. Others would temporarily suspend cabotage regulations and extend the validity period of transport licences and certifications.
With regard to rail transport, the industry association said the Commission should ensure unconstrained access to shunting yards and intermodal terminals, free up reduced passenger train operations; and simplify border crossing procedures.
CEFIC said railway operators and infrastructure managers have already extensively discussed simplifying and harmonizing their systems so “now is the opportunity to put some of these concepts into practice, even if only implemented temporarily.”