AIR CARGO and logistics companies operating in Europe are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars through unexpected delays and extra costs caused by new border controls set up to manage the influx of migrants, writes Thelma Etim.

Dutch trans-European logistics, airfreight and trucking company Jan de Rijk says a significant rise in the overall cost of transporting shipments across Europe is now inevitable.

Chief executive Sebastiaan Scholte says his company will be sending out letters to customers informing them of additional, unavoidable charges for these problems.

“We cannot absorb all of these types of costs. These added [border control] waiting times will be costly for other industries too – and, in the end for the consumer, because of the huge inefficiencies.”

Scholte’s warning comes only weeks after ground logistics businesses like his were dealt another financial blow by workers’ strikes at the Channel Tunnel – a gateway between the UK and the rest of Europe.

Jan de Rijk’s trucks make 20,000 English Channel crossings a year.

During the strikes earlier in the summer his company was forced to make use of alternative types of transportation – including ferry ships travelling from the Netherlands, Belgium and from other parts of France, etc.

“The biggest problem was the fact that transit times increased, which was not good for our customers or for us because you get a certain rate for your services and you perform that in a certain time frame, “ he explains.

“Our drivers were stuck in huge queues in the tunnel, on both sides, and sometimes they had to wait up to 20 hours. This is unrecoverable cost.”

Some of Jan de Rijk’s customers even opted for short-haul air cargo to avoid the bottlenecks. Others decided not to transport their consignments at all until the situation dissipated.

Either way, the company lost cargo revenue as result of the international incidents.

Scholte is quick to point out that no migrants have boarded his vehicles.

“We were congratulated by many of our airline customers because we had no incidents whatsoever with migrants in our trucks.

“We handled the situation very smoothly and this is thanks to our excellent operational team.”