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Food supply chains: Dachser calls for flexibility

March 25, 2020 4:02 PM, Der AUDITOR
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SEEHEIM-JUGENHEIM/KEMPTEN. Reports of long traffic jams at the borders within Europe, particularly at the borders in Poland, shook the market last week. Traders, in addition, reported that suppliers were forced to close on a temporary basis. Although the situation has now improved, the freight forwarders remain concerned.

Problems in Eastern Europe

As extensive health checks are being executed at the borders and travel restrictions apply in nearly all countries the EU single market has witnessed an unprecedented disruption to the uninterrupted flow of people and goods. The situation escalated towards the end of last week as the Red Cross had to be called in to look after drivers, who spent hours and days waiting at the borders to Poland. Fortunately, the situation has improved. As the main customs office in Frankfurt Oder states the roads to Poland have been largely empty over the last few days after Poland stopped executing health checks for truck drivers.

The delays at the borders and the quarantine measures in place throughout the member states have impacted transports to Eastern Europe. Traders have reported that a high-morphine poppy seed supplier in Spain had to close temporarily last week. Problem was that no trucks were available for transport to Russia. Although the company has reopened again and the trucks are currently on the road, there is no possibility of stating when the seeds will reach their destination. Delays are expected. Wheat suppliers in Poland are, in addition, having difficulties in finding trucks to transport supplies to Germany. Last week’s traffic jams have prompted some truck drivers to refuse to travel to other countries.

Dachser Food Logistics calls for flexibility to continue

Dachser Food Logistics, by contrast, states that they have enough drivers at their disposal in Germany and in other countries. Christian Auchter, Dachser Consultant for Corporate Public Relations explains that “border traffic related problems, such as traffic jams, quarantines arrivals and returns, have less of an impact on the food business”. The volume of shipments to the food retailers has risen sharply, especially for products with a longer shelf life that do not require cooling. Demand is also on the rise for fresh produce.

Although delivery delays may not be a general problem in Germany, Auchter explicitly highlights that “the situation may change any day and sporadic obstructions will frequently occur. This is why we need flexibility to continue on all sides to prevent the food supply chain from being paralysed”. Traders are, for instance, very generous when it comes to arrival times. There is no lack of supplies and as Auchter states the “warehouses are full, logistics are operating and functioning. Empty shelves are the result of panic buying over the last few days, but the supply chains are most certainly up and running”.

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