Pandemic: Situation in Ireland and beyond plus general advice

Airfreight Ro-Ro Lo-Lo

Airfreight services are significantly constrained, particularly for freight carried on board passenger services.

Ro-Ro shipping services serving Ireland are running as normal but with limited or no passenger traffic.

Lo-Lo services to and from Europe are fully operational but on the deep-sea side COVID-19 induced Blanked Sailings to and from Asia restrict capacity and schedules.

The introduction by EU of ‘Green Lanes’ is minimizing Border Delays and traffic is relatively smoothly.

Rail Freight services to and from Irish & EU Ports running smoothly.

Airfreight capability is enhanced though using passenger aircraft hold capacity on a charter basis. These aircraft are not suitable for ‘cargo aircraft only’ traffic.

Seatruck and Brittany Ferries are operating on an “unaccompanied” trailer basis. P&O, Stena Line and Irish Ferries have limited driver capacity.

Shipment volumes ex-China are now running at about 90% of normal meaning that significant container numbers will reach Irish Ports from week 16. Lines and Ports anticipate considerable difficulties and likely substantial costs where the importer is shut down. Delays in discharging containers could lead to equipment shortages for exports.

Before booking Transport ensure that the delivery site is fully functional and trailer or container can be discharged as planned. If it is not, considerable extra costs will be incurred.

Reduced trailer deliveries in Britain in particular, could delay collections of imports and impose extra charges to fund the shipment of extra trailers from Ireland to collect the load.

Exporters’ changed office set-ups should not be allowed to delay the preparation of documentation required for export shipment.

Transport should be booked as far as possible in advance to give the best chance of the right equipment and sailing slot.

Shippers of dangerous goods should ensure that the required paperwork is submitted digitally in plenty of time to the Ferry Line’s cargo reservations office, rather than having drivers presenting papers at the ports/check in.

Where possible all handling of papers should be avoided.

by Howard Knott, Logistics Consultant to the Irish Exporters Association and contributor to Fleet Transport & Handling Network.

Logistics – Looking across Europe…….


At motorway border crossings long queues of trucks formed. There are regulations in place regarding entry of trucks except those transporting food and animals on the border with Slovakia as a result of huge delays on the borders of Slovakia and Hungary.

Hungary  closely controls all truck movements. Professional associations such as Česmad Bohemia warn that without the assistance of the State, freight transport in the Czech Republic will collapse.

The government is considering measures to ease the owners of transport companies, considering introducing state guarantees for the payment of diesel fuel with a credit line of up to 180 days. The Treasury is considering a program of assistance by stopping mortgage and loan payments. In the meantime, a number of transport companies have lost their agreed customers and are parking up their vehicles, depositing their license plates.

Massive amount of lay-off among drivers is being considered. Drivers themselves do not feel any change in their work – if they have it. At the delivery points they do not get in contact with other people, often do not get out of the vehicles. Other than border crossings they have no other big problems. They can cope with closed roadside service stations abroad, they cook themselves, and stay in their trucks. Traffic police deal with offenses by appointment rather than by fine. It is a requirement by the Ministry of Health to wear a mask or other protection of the mouth and nose, even in the vehicle despite the fact that the driver is traveling alone.


Like in most other countries around Europe, France changed the rules for driving time for truck drivers

  • Driving Times and Sunday driving restrictions are loosened for one month.
  • Daily Drivetime: 10 hrs (and 2 times 11h in the week)
  • Weekly Drivetime: 60 hrs
  • Drivetime within 2 weeks: 102 hrs


Based on Government Decree 46/2020. as well as the respective Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations, the following persons can enter Hungary at Liszt Ferenc Airport:

  • Hungarian nationals,
  • EEA nationals holding a permanent residence card,
  • diplomats accredited to Hungary.

Furthermore, due to the established practice, entry is granted to foreign family members of Hungarian nationals in case they have a valid permission entitling them to stay in Hungary, or in case they hold no such permission, it is requested to have the marriage/birth registered in Hungary, a fact to be officially checked upon entry.  Any third-country family member of a Hungarian national travelling on foreign documents can submit a leniency application. A marriage certificate or other proof of family relationship is to be attached. Please note that decision-making on applications placed upon entry may take a longer time.

Entry is granted to all EEA nationals holding a registration certificate and a Hungarian address card.

No entry is granted to non-EEA nationals, irrespective of holding a permanent residence permit.

Police will promote all transit journeys within and outside the Schengen area, provided that onward travel is properly pre-arranged and manageable. Please note that air travel has become unpredictable as flight schedules may change rapidly and flights leaving for Budapest might not be able to reach their final destination.

For further information please consult the Border Protection website:

About transit in Hungary

Only for transit!

Information note on freight traffic and transit traffic:

The decision that allows freight traffic crossing through Hungary unhindered, but under strict oversight, ensures the continuous supply of the Hungarian people.

Those freight carriers that are bound for Hungary, bringing goods to the Hungarian people, play a crucial role.

Freight carriers with the destination beyond Hungary may enter, but under strict safety conditions, and are only allowed to use highway routes and fuel stations designated for this purpose. This is allowed continuously.

Regarding foreign citizens wishing to enter Hungary from Austria and Slovenia, citizens of the neighbouring countries and Bulgaria may also transit through Hungary. The condition of their entry is the assurance of the exit, which means we require an approval from the neighbouring countries to admit the people wishing transit through Hungary. Citizens of the countries concerned can use the designated transit corridors from 9 PM to 5 AM.


There are new regulations on driving and rest times. Periods of more than 9 and 19 hours may be conducted, respecting the breaks stipulated by European law.

In the case of Spain, periods of more than 9 and 10 hours per day may be driven, without specifying the number of periods, provided the breaks are respected every 4.5 hours of driving, established in 45 minutes. This pause can be replaced by two, one of 15 minutes, followed by another of 30 minutes, interspersed in the driving period.

The mandatory daily rest period of 11 hours is maintained, compared to other countries that have reduced it to 9 hours.

The EU supports carriers in their demand not to load and unload cargo, and authorizes them to denounce shippers in case of non-compliance.

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