Impact of the refugee crisis on transport and logistics in the EU

Time and place:

Date:  01 June 2016
Time:  12.30
Place:  European Parliament (Members’ Salons)



BRUSSELS, 2 June 2016 – At the eleventh event of the European Logistics Platform (ELP) which took place yesterday in the European Parliament, around 40 EU policymakers and industry stakeholders came together to discuss the impact of the refugee crisis on transport and logistics in the EU. The event was hosted by Matthijs van Miltenburg MEP, Member of the TRAN Committee. In his introductory remarks, Mr van Miltenburg stressed that "the introduction of national border controls as an answer to the refugee crisis heavily affects the European transport sector. Restricting the freedom of movement puts great pressure on one of the fundamental freedoms of the EU. In order to preserve the Schengen area without internal borders, Europe must protect and secure its external borders."


Russell Cowley, Managing Director, Clan International, in his presentation on ‘How migration has impacted upon transport and logistics companies’ focused on the practical impact of the refugee crisis on the operations of his company. Describing the need to diversify the operations of his business in order to guarantee integrity of transported goods and the safety of the truck drivers, he called for a common effort to mitigate the risks. He noted that "the heavy investment from companies like ours in elaborating security systems can only be one side of the coin. In order to tackle this situation in a sustainable way, we call strongly on all involved to share best practices and work together to find common solutions."


Michael Nielsen, General Delegate to the EU of the IRU, focused on ‘Solutions to alleviate the negative impact on the sector.’ He emphasized the fact that heightened security measures in Calais are naturally welcomed, although they have not solved the crisis but merely moved the problem inland. He continued: "Member States have to align in terms of how to secure their infrastructure and those using it - this includes agreeing how best to ensure that external borders are secured. Coordination amongst Member States as to how transport operators should secure themselves is a prerequisite to make sure that e.g. truck drivers know what to do and that they, if having followed the agreed procedures, are not found guilty of people smuggling, for instance. The EC should work to make sure that the same security measures are implemented across the EU."


Robert Missen, DG MOVE's Head of Unit for Land and Maritime Security, noted that “the Commission is very aware of the impacts of this crisis on logistics, a sector which tends to go unnoticed by society until a crisis brings it to a halt. We want to make sure that transport keeps moving." Mr Missen noted that the Commission is in the process of putting together a best practice handbook for hauliers and drivers active on European roads. "This handbook is intended to be a practical and useful tool so that drivers can make sure their lorries are safe, with a practical step by step checklist enabling them to make sure that their cargo is secure.”


In conclusion, the moderator Pauline Bastidon from the European Logistics Platform said that it is obvious that the refugee crisis is a human crisis, but as today's presentations have shown, it also has a dramatic impact on the freight and logistics sector, both from an economic and human point of view. "Actors in the logistics chain are victims of this crisis; they need the support of the European Commission and the Member States. Action should not only focus on treating the symptoms but also on the roots of the problem, by fighting people smuggling and securing the EU’s external borders."


The European Logistics Platform represents a wide variety of actors involved in logistics and supply chains across Europe. Current members are ABP, ACEA, BDL, CER, CLECAT, Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Post DHL Group, duisport, ECG, ESC, ECSLA, ERFA, FERRMED, FTA, Goodyear Dunlop Tires Europe B.V., Hutchison Whampoa, IRU, Michelin, Nordic Logistics Association, P&G, TLN, Volvo Group, UIRR.


For more information: www.europeanlogisticsplatform.eu

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