October 2015 – EUROPE – Amid record numbers of migrants in Europe, freight is being disrupted and thousands of drivers are experiencing chaos every day. Germany, Austria and Slovenia have placed controls on borders, while Hungary and Croatia have closed parts of country lines altogether, creating huge diversions for traffic. And now critics have warned that that the problem is likely disrupting businesses in Britain. James Hookham, deputy chief executive of the UK Freight Transport Association, said: “Any delays at borders will inevitably have a knock-on effect for our members in terms of delays and additional costs. He added: “Delays such as those currently experienced at borders outside Europe will always have an effect on our members’ businesses.”
Peter Cullum of the UK Road Haulage Association said that issues could already be affecting trade costs in Britain, but that knock-on effects are hard to calculate. He said costs are added to suppliers when firms realize they are being hit by delays. He said: ‘Once you know there will be problems you will adjust contracts adding extra days for delivery.” The flow of cargo has already slowed in southern countries including Macedonia, Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria. Arpad Vasarhelyi, chief executive of the Hungarian unit of logistics company DB Schenker, said routes through Serbia and to the Balkans were in a “critical” state, with the crisis slowing both road and rail deliveries. He said: “Certain traffic has been diverted to alternative routes, which can be more expensive.” Truck drivers also face penalties for not delivering on time after being caught up in the pandemonium.
British hauliers have already told Express.co.uk their businesses are facing closure as migrants in Calais slow cargo down as they make daily attempts to get to Britain. Aleksandar Momcilovic drives a truck carrying sunflower meal and soy meal from Serbia to Italy and usually it takes eight hours to reach his final destination near Genoa. But last week he spent almost three days at the border between Serbia and Croatia. He said: “Who is going to pay for that?”
Teodisiadis Leamis left Greece to take canned olives and olive oil to Germany, but ended up spending three days sleeping in his truck, after border closures. He said: “This is terrible. I am running out of food and water.” In Serbia transport accounts for 15 percent the economy and employs more than 11 percent of the workforce and in Hungary logistics accounts for 6 percent of GDP. Car makers dependent on timely deliveries could be among the hardest hit, with the Volkswagen emissions scandal already casting a shadow over a sector accounting for over a tenth of Hungarian exports. Rail Cargo Hungaria, a member of Austrian Rail Cargo Group, said the closure of the crossing at Magyarboly on the Croatian border meant it had to reroute some trains to another point at Murakeresztur, 200 km (125 miles) northwest. –UK Express