EC sets guidelines for goods movements as logistics problems bite due to coronavirus

The European Commission (EC) has published guidelines for border management measures including goods transport during the outbreak of 2019-nCoV coronavirus now that logistics issues have begun to bite, the EC said on Monday March 16.

The rapid spread across Europe of the Covid-2019 disease caused by the virus has forced governments to resort to strict measures, including border closures in some cases.

In this context, steel market participants have reported encountering logistics problems due to a shortage of truck drivers and complications at border crossings.

“Italian mills are competing to get a truck. It’s becoming increasingly challenging to deliver [steel] products,” an Italy-based trader said.

Italian ship-owner associations Confitarma and Assarmatori confirmed that the country’s ports were at risk because ships from other countries were avoiding stops in Italy because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Some countries had already closed their ports to Italy-registered ships.

“Countries such as Cyprus, Tunisia, Albania and Malta have closed their ports to ships from Italy,” Assarmatori said in an email seen by Fastmarkets. “Cyprus has also implemented a 14-day quarantine which extends to [vessels from] several countries.”

To ensure a smooth flow of goods traffic within the EU, the EC has now published an array of guidelines for border management measures in the various member nations to protect public health and to ensure the availability of goods and essential services.

“Professional travel to ensure the transport of goods and services should be enabled,” the EC said. “In that context, the facilitation of safe movement for transport workers, including truck and train drivers, pilots and aircrew, across internal and external borders, is a key factor to ensure adequate movement of goods and essential staff.”