Weekend lorry bans could scupper ash contingency plans

Tuesday 20 April 2010

Contingency plans for goods movements could be thwarted by European bureaucracy, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA). While many freight forwarders are looking to move goods by road, rather than air, there is a concern that bans on weekend lorry movements could stop them in their tracks.

FTA’s Jo Tanner said:

“Like passenger carriers, many of our members are using mainland Spain as a hub and then moving goods from there to the UK by road and rail. However, the success of these contingency plans could be severely hampered by the weekend lorry bans that are in place in many parts of Europe. We are calling on those countries to deactivate those bans and help us keep the goods and produce moving.”

Although fresh and perishable produce are normally exempt from the bans, frozen produce is not and, despite its longer shelf-life, this could present a logistical challenge for producers and retailers. The bans will also impact on other goods, such as manufacturing components, postage and some pharmaceuticals and, as a result, on UK industry.

Tanner continued:

“While we should be able to keep fresh produce moving, this is about more than mange tout. We need co-operation across Europe to make sure that the impact of this unprecedented situation is minimised as much as possible.”

Notes to editors

Fresh and perishable products – such as fresh fish, fruit and vegetables – are normally exempt from the bans, whereas frozen goods are not.

Drivers must be in possession of air cargo waybill to prove consignment was due to go by air originally if driving during ban times

Examples of European bans include:

French lorry ban:      2200 Saturday to 2200 Sunday 
German lorry ban:    Midnight to 2200 Sunday
Italian lorry ban:        0800 to 2200 Sunday
Spanish lorry ban:   Complicated restrictions only on certain roads at certain times and easy for operators to get caught out.
Swiss lorry ban:       All day (midnight to midnight) Sunday, also every night from 2200 to 0500.

There are no bans in place in Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Denmark, Ukraine and many other eastern European states.


FTA Press Office

01892 552255