Refugee crisis impact European flow of cargo

The European countries continue to struggle to cope with the flood of refugees displaced largely by the war in Syria, as the Journal of Commerce reports. The situation has already seen more than 514,000 people crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe with almost 3,000 people dead or reported missing.

Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis was impacting the movement of cargo across the busy region as well as having a terrible human cost, according to the International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) secretary general Doug Brittin.

The crisis has resulted in increased wait times at border crossings including the Channel Tunnel between Calais in France and Dover in the UK, as well as causing empty positioning and reduced volumes for road hauliers, having a significant financial impact on European air cargo logistics.

TIACA has called on world leaders meeting at the United Nations to work together to find solutions to the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe. One of the more controversial proposals put forward is for a European System of Border Guards to be established by the end of the year, but this was not gaining traction in the cargo transport industry.

The Dutch Association for Transport and Logistics claims that if controls were established across all Schengen borders — the single European zone with borderless travel between 26 states — and led to a one-hour delay in cargo border crossings, the cost for Dutch carriers alone would be $670 million a year.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), about 30 percent of all air cargo originates in Europe or is imported by Europe, and therefore these problems were having a direct impact on a air cargo volumes in the region.

“We must act now to find solutions firstly to resolve the humanitarian crisis and then also to ensure the free flow of goods in Europe,” said Brittin.