Testing and Quarantine Impacts Industry:
The introduction of increased testing and quarantine requirements for travelers arriving in Europe from high risk countries continues to impact the moving and relocation industry, with the increasing COVID-19 cases in the United States causing the most damage in the international segment.
With many FEDMAC members reporting healthy local and intra-European activity, European Union travel restrictions together with the added fear of flying during the pandemic is seen as a clear barrier for international moves from the United States to Europe. The United States is the largest moving market in the world and many moves from Europe to the USA are also delayed by the working visa freeze introduced by President Donald Trump to protect American jobs during the pandemic.
This week, both Germany and France took the decision to test travelers for COVID-19 arriving from high risk countries and test facilities are being installed at all international airports. Airports in Frankfurt, Cologne/Bonn and Munich have already introduced the plan, with Berlin introducing airport tests from this week. In the State of Bavaria, mobile testing units have been introduced at road border crossings. Currently 130 regions are on Germany’s list of high-risk areas.
In France, the number of high-risk countries is more limited, but includes the United States. Other countries in Europe, such as the United Kingdom have introduced a mandatory 14-day quarantine period, with Spain added to this list during the week.
UK Plans Sites for Customs Checks:
Following the recent announcement that the government in the United Kingdom had acquired land in Ashford, Kent to facilitate customs checks for trucks arriving in the UK post-Brexit, plans appear to be in place for more additional truck stops.
Intermodal News reports that a field inland from Dover is one of four sites the United Kingdom is considering turning into truck parks for customs checks after January 1, 2021. The site next to the White Cliffs Business Park is reported to have capacity for 1,200 trucks. In addition, government ministers are viewing Manston Airport, near Ramsgate as an additional location with capacity for an additional 5,800 trucks.
“Preparations for the end of the transition period are well underway to ensure the free flow of freight across our borders,” the UK government Department of Transport said in a statement. “This includes exploring options for permanent facilities to complete new border processes, as well as contingency plans in place to minimize any potential short-term disruption.”
Tolls Across All European Motorways:
Moving companies, along with other drivers face the prospect of tolls on every European motorway if proposals by Germany are adopted by the European Union in the future.
According to a draft document reported by Reuters, under their presidency of the EU which started on July 1, 2020, German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer plans to draft legislation that aims to achieve a total motorway toll system for trucks and cars across Germany and Europe. Within eight years, almost all vehicles on motorways would have to pay tolls, according to the draft directive.
Scheuer is seeking approval from German ministries making it an official proposal as part of its EU presidency.