A sector is challenged

Massive congestion at the borders and concerns about drivers: Logistics in Europe is struggling with unusual challenges due to short-term political measures. But the basic supply is secure. Freight carriers have a strong interest in continuing to offer their capacities on the market.

What impact is to be expected from border closures that have now taken place in large parts of the EU and Europe?

Although governments have announced that they do not want border controls to interfere with the cross-border movement of goods, we expect longer transport times. Just-in-time production will not be sustainable in the coming weeks if it depends on cross-border supplies.

However, sufficient transport capacities will be available on the market in the coming two to four weeks. Freight forwarders have a strong interest in offering and utilizing these capacities. However, it is not yet possible to derive any price development forecasts from the available data.

More and more coronavirus risk areas are being identified in Europe. What impact will this have?

Risk areas can become a problem – is it reasonable for drivers to drive their trucks into these areas? Will drivers be allowed to leave risk areas once they have entered? In traffic with Italy, intermodal transport is available to ensure international traffic without exposing people to increased risks. However, such systems are not or are not sufficiently available in traffic with Eastern Europe in particular.

At the current rate of virus spread, there could be deficiencies in the short term due to a shortage of drivers. However, this is offset by the decline in production. It is not currently possible to make reliable statements about the resulting price trend.

Once the coronavirus pandemic is contained, how will capacities and freight rates in land transport develop?

As soon as the prescribed restrictions are lifted, there may be a fall in prices, at least in the short term. The ability of freight forwarders to offer capacities on the market will increase faster than production and demand. We expect the market to be very volatile in the initial phase of normalization.

The decisive factor will be whether the industry succeeds in maintaining or resuming coordinated transport systems. If the number of empty runs increases because freight is booked for only one route, price increases may occur. No reliable predictions are possible at present.

In Italy, Germany and other European countries, non-essential shops remain closed. What impact will this have on online business?

Online retailers will benefit in the short term. This applies equally to the food and non-food sectors. Amazon is already increasing its staff. However, procurement of goods, declining production and restrictions in cross-border traffic pose limiting factors for online business as well. In any case, customers must expect significantly longer delivery times.

You can find more information about the impact of the coronavirus on the current transport logistics here.