Rhine-Alpine News

Covid-19: Rhine-Alpine Corridor remains open

Symbolic photo (Martin Brandt): River cruise ships idle in Cologne

The world is disrupted by Covid-19. In central Europe, international passenger services have basically come to a halt, national and local services are being reduced. River cruises and sea cruises are cancelled, including the Rhine river cruises and sea cruises from the ports at the Rhine-Alpine corridor. People who still need to travel for essential reasons must inform themselves about the remaining possibilities, and all others stay home.

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What about goods transport?

Goods transport is affected in multiple ways, but infrastructure and service providers fight to keep it going. While the ports keep fully operational, they do only essential services which are directly necessary for the handling of cargo. Here are statements from seaports along the corridor (external links):

Port of Rotterdam (Netherlands)

Port of Antwerp (Belgium)

Port of Genova (Italy)

Inland ports also remain open. See examples:

Duisport (Germany)

Port of Strasbourg (France)

Rail freight operation is largely operating according to plan. As an example, see the statement of intermodal operator Kombiverkehr.

In road transport, the situation along the corridor appears more complex. “At the moment, our main question along the Rhine-Alpine corridor is not so much getting across the border”, Andrea Marongiu, managing director of the Baden-Württemberg logistics association “VSL”, tells the editor of this newsletter. “The greatest problem of our members is that at the moment they all too often find the recipient businesses being closed upon arrival of the trucks, so the cargo cannot be delivered.”

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Goods transport is crucial

Symbolic photo (Martin Brandt): River transport on the Rhine

“The transport sector has a crucial role to play in the supply of goods, in particular medicines, medical devices, food and other essential commodities needed to overcome this crisis. The transport sector also proves to be a vital instrument in these times where many European citizens are restricted in their mobility”, writes the European Federation of Inland Ports in a press release of 24 March, together with many other European associations representing transport, infrastructure managers, operators, workers in all transport modes and logistics, contractors, local and regional authorities, logistics service providers, shippers, users and equipment suppliers in the maritime, port, inland waterways, railways, road, cycling, aviation and intermodal sectors, as well as supporting industries and companies.

“The flow of goods remains essential in this critical period. As such, the free flow of goods across the EU must be guaranteed. Additionally, we must support and protect all those working in transport and logistics. Their contributions in overcoming this crisis are vital. In times of emergency, inland ports and inland waterways play an essential role in providing European citizens, health services and businesses with a consistent flow of goods in order to come through this crisis.”