COVID-19: EU Commission advises member states on how to keep freight moving across borders
2020-03-25    [Source:Chemical week]

    The European Commission has issued new practical advice to EU member states on how to implement the Commission's guidelines for border management, to keep freight moving across the EU during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. EU member states have closed their national borders in response to COVID-19, hindering the functioning of the EU single market.

    To ensure that EU-wide supply chains continue to operate, EU member states are requested by the Commission to designate, "without delay," all necessary internal border-crossing points on the trans-European transport network as "green lane" border crossings. The green-lane border crossings should be open to all freight vehicles, whatever goods they are carrying. Crossing the border, including any checks and health screening, should not take more than 15 minutes. The green lanes are intended to ensure that EU internal borders stay open to freight and that supply chains for essential products are guaranteed.

    Procedures at green-lane border crossings should be minimized and streamlined to what is strictly necessary, the Commission says. Checks and screening should be carried out without drivers having to leave their vehicles, and drivers themselves should undergo only minimal checks. Drivers of freight vehicles should not be asked to produce any document other than their identification and driving license, and if necessary a letter from their employer. The electronic submission/display of documents should be accepted, the Commission says.

    "The coronavirus pandemic is having a major disruptive impact on European transport and mobility," the Commission says. "The European supply chain is maintained through an extensive network of freight transport services, including all modes of transport. Continued and uninterrupted land, waterborne, and air cargo services are of crucial importance for the functioning of the EU's internal market and its effective response to the current public health crisis."

    Cefic wrote to the Commission last week, suggesting ways to maintain cross-border transport for essential goods within the EU, including key chemicals used in the manufacture of face masks, hand sanitizer, and pharmaceuticals.

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