30 April 2020

Transport and Logistics Industry Welcomes Measures to Keep Goods Moving during COVID-19 Transition

The undersigned associations welcome the reaffirmation by Transport Ministers, following the informal videoconference yesterday, of the need to coordinate the exit and recovery measures for the transport sector in the context of COVID-19. The coordination of measures will be vitally important to ensure a continued smooth transport of goods.

The package of measures to support the transport sector announced by Commissioner for Transport Adina Vălean yesterday, are, generally, a welcome step towards a harmonized approach to recovery across transport modes. Only a coordinated approach will allow the transport and logistics industry to fully play its role in supporting industries and sectors as they resume their economic activity.

Continuing to provide administrative relief to the transport industry through the extension of the validity dates of certain certificates, licenses and other authorisations is vital and we support the Commission’s proposal to this effect.

Regarding road freight, the continued application of EU Green Lanes is essential, and we welcome the recognition of their continued importance by Transport Ministers. Green Lanes will be key in preserving the smooth transport of goods as general traffic volumes increase. Their effectiveness is contingent upon the full implementation of the Commission’s Communication on the Implementation of Green Lanes of 23 March for the duration of the recovery measures. We therefore also support the emphasis Transport Ministers placed on the need for information sharing through national contact points for transport.

We acknowledge the positive response by the European Commission to enable Member States to continue to temporarily diverge from EU rules on driving and rest times. Upholding the current flexibility, especially when private vehicle traffic is no longer restricted, is an important relief measure for the sector.

Regarding air cargo, we welcome the recognition of air crew repositioning by Transport Ministers as an important element of transport facilitation. However, we note with some surprise that the European Commission has opted to propose a derogation from the emergency measures in Article 21 of Regulation 1008/2008 regarding traffic rights. In view of the current scarce air freight capacity, it is essential to uphold air traffic rights to ensure the maximum capacity possible for air transport. Enabling such derogations and allowing for the simplified imposition of restrictions beyond 14 days on established traffic rights should in no case jeopardize the operation of the transport network for cargo and supporting activities. Finally, we call on Member States to ensure the continued application of the Commission Guidelines “Facilitating Air Cargo Operations during COVID-19 outbreak”.