Contingency plans for goods movements could be thwarted by European bureaucracy, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA). While many freight forwarders are looking to move goods by road, rather than air, there is a concern that bans on weekend lorry movements could stop them in their tracks.
FTA’s Jo Tanner said:
"Like passenger carriers, many of our members are using mainland Spain as a hub and then moving goods from there to the UK by road and rail. However, the success of these contingency plans could be severely hampered by the weekend lorry bans that are in place in many parts of Europe. We are calling on those countries to deactivate those bans and help us keep the goods and produce moving."
Although fresh and perishable produce are normally exempt from the bans, frozen produce is not and, despite its longer shelf-life, this could present a logistical challenge for producers and retailers. The bans will also impact on other goods, such as manufacturing components, postage and some pharmaceuticals and, as a result, on UK industry.
"While we should be able to keep fresh produce moving, this is about more than mange tout. We need co-operation across Europe to make sure that the impact of this unprecedented situation is minimised as much as possible."