EFIP’s response to the coronavirus crisis
As the coronavirus crisis hit Europe last month, inland ports in Europe continued to play their critical role as key multimodal hubs for the smooth and continued functioning of multiple European supply chains. Therefore, EFIP called on Member States to note the critical functions undertaken by inland ports and take measures to support and ensure the continued operations of ports. A top priority in this respect is to ensure that borders in the EU remain open for the transport of goods to avoid any negative impacts on the supply chain.
EFIP published a joint statement on 24 March, together with 32 European associations representing the transport sector, underlining once again the crucial role that transport and logistics play in the coronavirus crisis, in particular with regard to the supply of medicines, medical devices, food and other essential commodities needed to overcome this crisis.The statement also placed special emphasis on showing support to all workers in the supply chains who are enabling the continuity of transport services.
Ever since the beginning of the crisis, EFIP has been closely monitoring developments with its members and has been informing them and the European Commission on the impacts of the crisis on the sector. Passenger transport has been one of the most impacted areas, having completely shut down in the past few months.As time has progressed, more and more ports have been reporting losses in trade flows but the crisis has hit some ports more than others. On the whole, rail and road transport in inland ports have seen the most reductions. Across the inland waterway and logistics sector, the amount of freight has been diminishing but this is most marked in container and dry-bulk transport.In addition to these impacts, some ports also have had to reduce their operations to essential activities given national measures to prevent the spread of the virus among employees, for whom it is extremely difficult to find replacements. Some other issues have also blocked navigation, such as the Upper-Rhine locks that have reduced their operations, resulting in closures at night, or countries along the Danube which have set up restrictions and quarantine requirements impacting cruise change. Inland ports have however remained operational, thereby helping European industries and business keep functioning.