Safe Cargo Shipping during Coronavirus Outbreak
New rules have been implemented to ensure the safe shipping of cargo as to enable trade on a global scale to continue. These are of interest to European logistics operators carrying cargo across borders.
Airlines are increasingly transforming their fleets into cargo planes, shipping medical equipment, supplies, and medications. Those shipping cargo from affected areas are asked to follow WHO guidelines as to prevent further spread. Special handling is not necessary but workers must wash their hands frequently and maintain good hand hygiene. IATA advocates the view that cargo crew must be exempt from quarantine and travel regulations.
Measures have also been implemented to ensure that essential cargo keeps moving, including essential goods and medical supplies. However, Member States have also introduced border controls and other restrictions to prevent further spread. In Austria, for example, operating staff and drivers are asked to undergo medical examination, and limited relaxation of rest and driving times has been enforced. In Croatia, limited relaxation applies to freight forwarders that are shipping equipment to institutions and hospitals and are transporting raw materials, fuels, foods, and other essential products.
Temporary and limited relaxation has also been implemented in the United Kingdom with regard to the transportation of over the counter pharmaceuticals, cleaning supplies, household paper, personal care products, and food products. Limited relaxation has also been granted in Wales, Scotland, and England and applies to drivers shipping goods. In Northern Ireland, the Department for Infrastructure has granted limited and temporary relaxation with regard to driving hours rules. This applies to drivers that are shipping solid and oil fuel to domestic, commercial, and agricultural customers, including airports, landfill sites, and hospitals.
The relaxation of rest and driving times has been granted in compliance with Art. 14 (2) of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006. Temporary and compete tolerance has been enforced in Belgium with regard to the shipping of essential goods to pharmacies and shops, including medications and food. Limited and temporary relaxation has been enforced in different countries across the EU, including Spain, Slovenia, Slovakia, and others.
In Austria, there are border controls, and the activities and temperature of drivers are systematically checked. Heavy goods vehicles are temporarily exempt from the weekend traffic ban. In Bulgaria, truck drivers are subject to a mandatory quarantine for a period of 14 days. Non-Bulgarian drivers are permitted to unload and load cargo but they should leave the country within 24 hours. The maximum driving limit has been extended to 11 hours a day.
The rest period has been reduced to 24 hours per week to help avoid delays. In Belgium, the mandatory 14-day quarantine period applies to drivers from Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, France, Germany, Iran, Bahrain, Malaysia, and other countries. Only drivers in transit are exempt. While Germany has also introduced border controls, truck drivers that are shipping cargo are eligible to receive up to 1,500 EUR tax-free bonuses.