Source: IRU, 2021-03-04
Following an open letter urging Chancellor Angela Merkel to reconsider Germany’s misguided border restrictions on testing commercial vehicle drivers, IRU was invited on 4 March by the government to brief key ministries on the impact their measures are having on internal commercial road transport in Europe.
German IRU members, including AMÖ, BGL and DSLV, also joined the meeting to outline the impact on domestic operations to the three Secretaries of State from the Health, Interior and Transport ministries.
IRU explained how Germany’s refusal to exempt professional truck drivers from mandatory COVID-19 testing is still causing border chaos throughout Europe, as other governments take similar measures to prevent thousands of drivers being stuck on their territories.
As the cause of significant disruption on key trade corridors, the German government’s current measures go against Germany’s own commitments during the pandemic to keep “green lanes” for trucks open and borders running smoothly.
IRU said that 300 km detours are currently common for at least 50,000 trucks driving to Germany every day. Additional preparation needed to organise driver testing adds 30% to planning and delivery times and several additional driving hours for each vehicle. This impacts all of Europe`s supply chains, particularly in transit countries like Austria, the Czech Republic, and now also France. Germany announced on 4 March that Hungary and Sweden will be added to the list of variant countries.
The German restrictions continue to cause misery for thousands of international truck drivers unnecessarily caught up in long queues at makeshift roadside test centres, putting them at a much higher risk of catching the virus compared to their normal protected solo working environment in the driver’s cabin.
“We trust that the German government will come to its senses and put an end to these pointless measures which will only hurt supply chains, but don’t help contain the spread of the virus and put our drivers at risk,” said Matthias Maedge, IRU’s Director of Advocacy.
“Delays are particularly concerning for fresh produce. Every day, for example, 5,000 trucks deliver fresh fruit and vegetables from Portugal and Spain to Germany. Additional time in detours and border controls means that these products risk not being available in German supermarkets.”
“The time has come for the German government to immediately exempt truck drivers from mandatory border COVID-19 tests, to keep them safe, and to keep supply chains moving with the free movement of goods across the whole region,” said Matthias Maedge, IRU Advocacy Director.