Refugee crisis affecting European land transportation

Extended search precautions at European borders cause international trucks to delay their deliveries to destinations, as Syrian, African victims of war are gathering at borders hoping to achieve better living conditions in Europe

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

German Federal Police officers enter a truck to search for illegal migrants at the highway A3 near the south German border town Passau, Germany, September 15, 2015

Updated Sep 22, 2015

As the world is facing the worst refugee crisis since World War Two, recent numbers reveal that an estimated 350,000 people have attempted to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe this year alone. The number of asylum seekers hoping for a better life increases each day, along with hardships of their heart breaking journey.

Unfortunately, trying to cross to Europe through the Mediterranean has the lives of many. Therefore refugees mostly use land routes to cross into Europe, they get on trucks illegally. As experienced by many truck drivers, they tend to cut the tents of vehicles and get inside them without the driver noticing. Or, as the driver is taking a break, they can open the back door of the vehicle and get on the truck.

The CEO of International Transporters’ Association of Turkey (UND) Fatih Sener says that upon Germany’s promise to take in 1 million refugees, asylum seekers consider this offer as an open invitation. According to Sener, this is the main reason why so many people are currently pushing through European “borders.”

After noticing such cases, European officials have increased their search measures on vehicles traveling internationally. This has created long waiting hours at the borders. Especially on the eastern side of Germany, trucks are getting searched thoroughly for hours. This has lead transportation companies to complain and raised concerns that the humanitarian crisis would initiate an economic crisis by slowing down international trade.

Since Turkey’s economy largely depends on exports with five of its top ten export destinations being European countries, concerns are being raised that Turkish trucks spending hours at the European border controls might have a negative impact on Turkish exports.

However, Istanbul Ready-Made Garment and Apparel Exporters’ (IHKIB) Chair Hikmet Tanriverdi says that the current delays are not negatively affecting export figures yet.

Even though the problem is on humanitarian basis at the moment, according to experts if the situation is not tackled, it can start to have an economic side effect, as well. Tanriverdi told TRT World that, to prevent the worst cases, Turkey needs to take serious steps in helping ease the refugee crisis.