Migrant Crisis Causing Disruption to Cargo Transportation Across Europe
The major influx of refugees fleeing conflict-riven countries in the Middle East has caused disruption to cargo transportation across Europe, according to a recently-released report from BSI.
Large numbers of refugees surging across national borders has forced the re-imposition of checks at previously open borders in the European Union, delayed or stopped transportation at key choke points, and have led to the outright closure of some borders.
Some of the most serious interruptions were seen in Calais in northern France. A combination of strikes and migrant activity near the port and Channel Tunnel entrance in Calais resulted in losses of approximately $1 billion for the economy of the United Kingdom, which relies on these facilities for trade with the continent.
Losses due to contamination of cargo shipments by stowaways were particularly serious for the pharmaceutical and food industries. BSI recorded one lost shipment of pharmaceuticals valued at $3.9 million. Delays and stoppages in Calais cost UK shippers an estimated $1.2 million and Dutch shippers around $545,000 each day.
The surge of refugees into Europe in September led many countries to re-impose border checks in areas where they had previously allowed free passage of cargo and people. Border checks have resumed at Germany’s border with Austria and the Czech Republic, Slovakia’s border with Hungary, Austria’s border with Hungary, and Norway’s border with Sweden. All of these checks have slowed trade in Europe, leading to mounting costs for shippers. In particular, the checks along Germany’s southern border have hurt trade with Italy, as Italian exports to Germany have been delayed.