According to the most recent BSI Supply Chain Security Risk Index, the influx of refugees fleeing areas of conflict in the Middle East has caused disruption to cargo movement across Europe. Border checks have been re-imposed at previously open borders, or closed, delaying or stopping transportation. BSI reported border closures, stoppages or slowdowns at 10 different EU borders in three weeks in September, which is unprecedented since the EU began allowing free movement between borders in 1995.
Calais in Northern France has seen some of the most serious trouble. Between migrant movement and strikes by ferry workers, cargo losses amounted to almost $1bn for the economy of the UK, which relies on the crossing for trade to and from the continent. Losses due to contamination of cargo containing food and pharmaceuticals because of stowaways were serious, with BSI reporting one loss of a shipment of pharmaceuticals valued at $3.9m. Delays at Calais cost UK shippers an estimated $1.2m and Dutch shippers around $545,000 daily.
“More so than any other economic bloc, Europe relies upon free trade,” said Jim Yarbrough, global intelligence program manager, BSI Supply Chain Solutions. “Every shipment delayed, contaminated or destroyed, raises the cost to the end-consumer. For exports this hurts competitiveness, undermines productivity and risks jobs; for imports it raises the cost of living for each and every citizen.”
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