The EU

Countries like Greece, Italy, and France are facing particularly acute challenges, as they serve as crucial entry points for those fleeing the Middle East. In one of the most publicized examples, the Port of Calais in France has been transformed into a refugee camp housing up to 6,000 individuals. The port is a major entry point for shipments heading to the UK — approximately 75% of all road freight going in and out of Britain passes through Calais and Dover — and the refugee crisis is costing an estimated $200,000, $545,000, and $1.2 million a day for Belgian, Dutch, and UK shippers, respectively.

Thus, European countries are working to control and monitor the migration. Not only do the efforts of individual governments to secure their borders require a hefty sum to implement ($11 million in Austria, for example), the actions disrupt cross-border trade and delay shipments days at a time. An analysis by the European Commission estimates that these interruptions and their related consequences could cost the European economy $19.6 billion a year for every year the controls are in place.

A Vicious Cycle

These impacts are being felt directly by EU citizens: interruptions to the supply chain lead to shortages that drive up the prices of imported goods, such as fruit and vegetables. In the summer of 2015, as lorry drivers refused to run the dangerous route from Calais into the UK, food shortages were predicted across the country. Many drivers are choosing to avoid the French port city not only because of the periodic violence that erupts, but also because of the risk of stowaways. In the UK, the transportation company of any cargo shipment found to have been infiltrated by a stowaway is fined up to $2,000 per stowaway, and the shipment is subsequently confiscated or destroyed.

Unfortunately, the resulting logistical delays and shortages also affect the delivery of aid to refugees in desperate need. In response to a lack of funding and unpredictable conditions, individual companies like CHEP, a pallet and container pool provider, and the UPS Foundation are doing what they can to streamline the process. CHEP paired with the UNHCR to evaluate the relief agency’s supply chain, and the UPS Foundation has delivered food, blankets, sleeping pads, and solar lanterns to tens of thousands of refugees.

The flow of migrants into Europe shows no sign of stopping. As such, sophisticated, dynamic, and compassionate solutions must be coordinated across European and Middle Eastern countries. It’s a matter of life and death.

Border Control Fence Image


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