Truck traffic wait times down, but room for improvement

Truck traffic wait times down, but room for improvement
Copyright Rosta Tibor/MTVA
By Maria Psara, Laura Ruiz Trullols, Jack Parrock
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When borders began to close in Europe, trucks transporting essential goods were caught in massive traffic jams. The EU's 'green lanes' scheme to keep transport moving have shown improvements in wait times, but in some hot spots times are far off the 15 minute target.


Border checks between the European Union countries were reactivated due to the Coronavirus outbreak, causing major traffic jams along the bloc's main routes.

EU transport ministers agreed to create 'green lanes' to ensure that basic goods get to every corner of the continent, but voices from the transport sector say that efforts still aren't enough.

"If we look at some of the hotspots between Hungary and Romania, there is a 9 km queue. Same story between Hungary and Austria," says Umberto de Pretto, World Road Transport Organisation Secretary-General. "Between Germany and Switzerland there is a four hour waiting time. All of this has an impact on the economy, all of these has an impact on perishable goods."

Some transport companies have seen an improvement compared to the start of the COVID-19 crisis - but wait times are still not down to the quarter of an hour target.

Our drivers faced up to 10 or 12 hours of waiting time at the borders, at the beginning of March, but currently we can say that waiting times have been reduced to 2/3 hours thanks to the efficient new regulations of the countries," explains Viktor Varga, Project manager, K-V international transport.

The European Commission asked for border checks to last a maximum of 15 minutes but admits that the system is still not perfect

"There are some issues emerging but being solved because we have a network of contact points at the European level. So if a situation emerges in one place or another we are moving bilateral way to try to understand what is happening and to solve it on the spot," explains Adina Valean, European Commissioner for Transport.

While the situation may have improved somewhat from one week ago, there is still some way to go to ensure that transport of essential goods is not delayed.

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