UK & Ireland confirm all supply chains essential – not just medical and food
The UK Department of Transport joined Ireland and rest of European Union (EU) in confirming that hauliers are carrying out essential work when involved in any form of road freight, according to the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA).
The Department of Transport issued a statement confirming that: “the Department for Transport considers it essential that the work of the logistics sector should continue to the greatest extent possible through the Covid-19 crisis.
Haulage drivers, managers, warehouse staff and all other logistics professionals need to continue to go about their business to keep supply chains moving, and Government policy is clear that this applies to all supplies chains and not only those for food and medical supplies. All travel related to the operation of logistics businesses (including for instance necessary washing of vehicles or supply of spare parts) or necessary travel by logistics workers to places of work such as distribution centres is therefore to be considered ‘essential travel’ in the context of current restrictions.”
As reported on Monday last, the Irish Government confirmed this same position when they published the list of essential service providers under new public health guidelines at the weekend. The list includes:
Transport Storage and Communication
- land transport (for example, bus, rail and taxi services)
- road, rail, sea and air freight
- sea and air passenger services; ports and airports
- warehousing and support activities for transportation including cargo-handling
- postal and courier activities
- network control and critical maintenance (including roads)
- safety related functions
- No distinction has been made as to the type of cargo, i.e., all goods freight is considered essential for the purposes of the lockdown. For full details of the Irish Government list of essential services and full guidance please see:
Insurance Industry recognises validity of overdue CVRT certs due to closure
Insurance Ireland, the representative body for the insurance industry in Ireland, has issued a short statement to assure those with commercial and private motor insurance that the closure of NCT and CVRT testing will not affect the status of their current cert, even if it falls due during the 6 month period during which no testing can take place.
“We note the proposal to extend driving licences and NCTs expiring between the beginning of March and the end of July by 6 months. Insurance Ireland members are happy to be supportive and treat such licence and NCT/CRWs as valid when people are renewing their motor insurance or taking out new motor insurance policies.”
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) will be introducing measures, as per Minister’s Statement, to address issues arising from the suspension of these services. The IRHA has engaged closely with the RSA and Department on this due to the need for this to be done as soon as possible, particularly to clarify the position for those carrying out international haulage in the rest of Europe.
IRHA seeking clarity from Europe on cabotage and other issues
The IRHA is continuously lobbying with the Irish Government and with Brussels on the need to see a relaxation of cabotage restrictions for the period of the pandemic. Some other Member State countries have been seeking this also but there has been fierce opposition by other countries.
The EU Commission communicated with the IRHA directly, through the IRHA’s Brussels representative, Dan Wolff, that they would look favourably on a temporary arrangement between Ireland and the UK. Both possibilities are being pursued by the IRHA and by the Irish Government.
Other issues being lobbied at European level by the IRHA include:
- the need to see a continuation of the derogation on driving and rest times;
- the issue of overdue tachograph calibration due to closure of centres;
- recognition of overdue CVRT;
- availability of facilities on the continent;
- directions/guideline to retail/wholesale businesses to ensure drivers are not delayed unduly at distribution centres or loading areas;
Transport & Logistics News from around Europe re Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
On 2 April, the Finnish Government issued a decree with the aim to ensure continuity of dangerous goods transport operations.
Current exceptional circumstances may make it impossible to provide training and tests related to professional qualifications in the transport of dangerous goods, or scheduled and interim inspections of tanks, or vehicle inspections for the carriage of dangerous goods. Therefore, the validity of licences, approvals and certificates which will expire in the near future can, on an exceptional basis, be further extended in 2020.
The Netherlands has issued its latest update on driving and rest times – 2 April 2020
In order to guarantee the flow of supplies, especially those destined for the supermarkets and pharmacies, the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management has extended the relaxation on driving and rest times until 1 June 2020.
The same conditions continue to apply for the following:
- Maximum daily driving time of 11 hours
- Maximum weekly driving time of 60 hours
- Maximum fortnightly driving limit of 96 hours
- Postponement of a weekly rest period from six to seven 24-hour periods.
- The relaxation of driving and resting times is prolonged until June 1st. A lot of communities have relaxed curfew times for distribution as well. To provide hauliers and especially planners with a good overview, a digital platform has been created at datavoorlogistiek.nl
On 1 April, the Italian Prime Minister announced a new decree extending the deadline of the measures currently in force. These measures will remain applicable until 13 April 2020.
The Polish Ministry of Transportation and ZMPD are searching urgently for special systems and criteria to transport medical supplies. Regarding access into Europe, on the German and Lituanian borders, there is not too much waiting times. Only on motorway A4 where it extends to 3 hours. But on Eastern side, it is a more serious matter with delays up to 6-8 hours.
After latest implementation of new stricter rules of people behaviour there is less people on streets. Bikes rentals in cities are closed. Two persons for one cashier working in the shops.
Anticipating huge problems for transport companies, ZMPD chairman is calling on the Prime Minister to meet and talk about next step of Governmental support for medium sized hauliers.