March 24, 2020

Mobility is currently severely affected by a wide range of national and international measures to contain the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Although they are attempting to stop the spread of the virus, governments are also aware of the importance of ensuring economic continuity, the health and safety of workers and the free movement of essential goods (especially food and medicines). This blog outlines various new measures aimed at keeping Europe moving and examines how they impact on companies with fleets.

EU-wide steps to support ‘business as usual’

At European Union (EU) level, the European Commission (EC) is taking resolute action to mitigate the socio-economic impact of Covid-19 on mobility in general and on the transport sector in particular. Last week, transport ministers from the various Member States together with the EC and numerous stakeholders agreed to work together to minimise transport disruptions. Member States have already started to monitor and share details of the effectiveness of their national measures. They are also in the process of designating national contact points for enhanced coordination. Joint agreements have been reached on the importance of keeping freight moving, including across borders, to ensure that essential goods and medical supplies continue to reach citizens throughout Europe.

EU guidelines ensuring the flow of goods

The EC has expressed its willingness to be flexible. It is prepared to consider relaxing relevant requirements to ensure the smooth flow of goods throughout Europe at this unprecedented time, and has called on Member States to do the same. This is aimed at reducing the strain on the transport sector during this crisis and enabling it to focus on its core tasks of delivering essential freight to the public. The EC has also stressed that Member States should only impose restrictions on the transport of goods, transport workers and passengers for public health reasons. The interventions by the EC and Member States include the protection of transport workers, free circulation of goods and people who need to cross borders, green corridors (priority lanes for freight transport), flexibility for rules on driving and rest times, and pre-notification of measures to the EC.

Some examples of mobility-supporting measures implemented/announced by Member States

  • Possible exemptions (e.g. for commuters/drivers) from self-quarantine rules for people arriving from affected countries or regions
  • Temporary and limited relaxation of the enforcement of driving and rest times for drivers of vehicles transporting essential goods
  • Lift of weekend traffic bans for >7.5-tonne vehicles
  • International transits allowed without stops for relevant countries
  • Usage of health certificates (not older than 4 days)

In support of EU citizens and the EU economy

Besides ensuring the continued movement of essential goods, Member States also recognise the importance of minimising the restriction of mobility for businesses and citizens. They have therefore agreed that responses to Covid-19 should not aggravate economic and social distress by cutting off much-needed transport links. Mobility is key in order to keep the economy going. Hence, the EC is implementing a number of measures to provide the necessary support for EU citizens and the EU economy.

The current situation calls for renewed solidarity and stronger cooperation between nations. On 18 March, the EU took a significant first step towards a coordinated approach focused on containing the spread of the virus yet ensuring the continuation of vital work-related activities, not only in the healthcare sector, but also for essential transport and mobility services. As a business owner, fleet manager or driver, it is important to be aware of the latest national and international measures (in terms of both restrictions and exemptions) that may affect your mobility for commercial purposes. As part of LeasePlan's comprehensive Covid-19 Response Plan, we are continuously monitoring all developments that affect the mobility market. Our aim is to inform you of relevant changes and keep you as mobile as possible in these exceptional times. LeasePlan's team of experts are specialised in the challenging dynamics of today's - and tomorrow's - mobility market. They can provide tailor-made advice and offer solutions for your specific mobility needs. Ask your LeasePlan contact person for more information or support.