Jul 23 2020

BVL Logletter: Insights from Luxembourg - During the COVID-19 Pandemic
BVL, Divers

LUXEMBOURG The COVID-19 pandemic has not failed to leave its mark on Luxembourg and presented substantial  challenges to the country as well as its logistics sector. As since March 17th the slogan in Luxembourg has been “stay at home”, 58.5% of all companies had to cease their activities, while 41.5% continued their operations with reduced workforce and under strict restrictions. In light of the special geographical situation of Luxembourg, with its three borders to Germany, France and Belgium, the decision by its neighbouring countries to close their borders strongly affected the country’s activities. These unilateral decisions led to substantial bureaucratic hurdles as, from one moment to another, commuters and truckers required three different cross-border permits.

Consequently, travel restrictions, unharmonized cross-border regulations, and non-aligned hygienic requirements challenged the transport companies’ creativity to secure the supply of vital products and medical equipment. Being a key location for airfreight in Europe, the exploding demand for medical goods coupled with the significant shortfall in belly capacity from passenger aircrafts created grand challenges for the Luxembourg airport as well as its major carrier Cargolux, the ground handler LuxairCargo, and its road feeder partners.

Through an outstanding collaboration with its network of partners, the Luxembourg airport was able to prove its resilience and to confirm its pivotal role as a central logistics hub for Europe and the greater region. The excellent relationship between Luxembourg and China paired with Cargolux’s frequent flight connections to the Asian continent, made it possible to handle a significant amount of healthcare material for Europe, including 27 million masks which were freely distributed to the population.

Looking ahead, Luxembourg’s government coalition has put together an exit strategy including a financial aid package of more than 8.8 billion euros – 14.2% of its GDP - to save and restart the economy from the coronavirus crisis.  Targeting the sectors mostly affected by the pandemic, the government aims at cushioning the economic consequences of the crisis and promoting a restart which strongly focuses on social and environmental aspects.

By Chapter Luxembourg Chairperson Malik Zeniti and Philippe Scholten (Cluster for Logistics)

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