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Covid tests cause border chaos in Europe

[ February 15, 2021   //   ]

Test measures for truck drivers imposed by Germany, the Austrian Tyrol and the Czech Republic, are causing chaos for freight transport, warns the International Road Transport Union (IRU). The trade route from Italy northwards across the Brenner Pass, as well as East-West corridors, are particularly badly affected, it says.

Germany has refused to exempt truck drivers from new Covid testing requirements while Tyrol and the Czech Republic have imposed similar restrictions on drivers transiting their territories towards Germany. While rapid antigen tests are accepted, they must be conducted by an authorised laboratory, a difficult requirement for drivers working outside their home country.   

More than 7,000 trucks move goods on the North-South corridor through Tyrol every day, about the same volume of trucks that use the Dover-Calais corridor, site of December’s chaos when France imposed restrictions.

In a letter the the IRU, the European Commission restated the importance of keeping green lanes for trucks operational at all times, and that individual measures by countries must remain proportionate and avoid the disruption of logistics and essential transport.

European forwarders’ organisation Clecat said that it too was “extremely concerned” about the tightened entry regulations for transport workers in European member states. The new measures have caused immediate border congestion, extensive detours and, as a result, serious disruption of supply chains.

It called on the Member States to respect the Commission’s guidelines, pointing out that in Sweden, for instance, the temporary entry restrictions do not apply to transport staff.

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