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Freight continues to flow to and from Italy

[ March 20, 2020   //   ]

Freight services to and from Italy are continuing at fairly normal levels, despite the near-lockdown of the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, says Phil Denton, managing director of Manchester-based specialist, ITAL Logistics.
He told FBJ: “As we have round trip trailers operating as normal, we have yet to reduce the service. As long as the freight is being booked and they allow the drivers in and out we will carry on as normal. We are still moving all types of freight in and out of Italy.” Indeed, there may be a spike in the coming week of certain shipments, if supplies fall in Italy, he added.
Most drivers working for ITAL are still willing to enter the country, he added, saying: “We have all taken necessary precautions and followed all rules by our and the Italian government. We are all also following individual site rules and each driver now has masks which are being worn at all times when out of their units. The same procedures and protocol are also being applied on our road freight services to Spain, Portugal, Greece, France, Malta and all other services.”
The option of dropping trailers at the Italian border was also available, should it become necessary, he added.
Some ferry lines into the UK are also refusing to book self-drive vehicles, while others refuse drivers that have been to Italy. This is having a particularly severe impact on services carrying dangerous goods.
Some services, such as UK/Malta, use Italy as a transit point. So far, says Denton, “we have not had any severe delays at the ports. However we are aware that some ferry operators will reduce how many drivers are allowed on board, which will no doubt cause delays. One particular shipping line have advised us today they will not allow any drivers on board and will only permit unaccompanied vehicles.”
Denton concluded: “We will continue until advised otherwise. When all restrictions are lifted we will continue as normal to do what we do best.”
Groupage operator Transmec also said it was unaffected by the situation in Italy and remains operational with 50% per cent of employees set up to work remotely and essential warehouse staff on site, adding: “A bold, progressive welfare policy, developed over the last few years, has been extended to cover essential costs ranging from medical costs to babysitting.”
Meanwhile, it is doing everything it can to support clients.
Road operators have also been able to offset any shortage of truck drivers by making more use of rail and intermodal services. Transmec says that its intermodal service provides a reliable alternative for transporting freight between Italy and Romania, for instance, adding that it involves minimal human contact compared to other forms of transport.

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