For Willem van der Schalk, Managing Director of a. hartrodt in Hamburg, the two main issues of the German EU Council Presidency from 1 July to 31 December 2020 are Brexit and Corona. The transition period of the British EU withdrawal ends at the turn of the year. Due to the possible unregulated Brexit and "the behaviour of the British government, which will make planning very difficult", van der Schalk sees "a major challenge in very volatile times". At the same time, there is an urgent task of "creating sustainable solutions and measures to get the Covid-19 pandemic under control in sociopolitical and economic terms".
Responsible transport policy needed
Transport policy issues could fade into the background during the German EU Council Presidency, van der Schalk fears. Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer has a difficult relationship with Europe because the European Court of Justice stopped the German car toll in summer 2019. As President of the European Association for Forwarding, Transport, Logistics and Customs Services, Clecat, van der Schalk is all the more committed to responsible transport policy in his dealings with EU Transport Commissioner Adina Valean.
Urgent need for action regarding sea and air freight
The Clecat President demands "that border closures for freight traffic must never again happen in Europe". In the future, he rules out kilometre-long truck congestion like at the beginning of the Corona crisis in Europe. In his association work, van der Schalk also has the interests of a. hartrodt's customers in mind. He sees an urgent need for action with regard to sea freight: "We are committed to ensuring that the departure frequency of liner services will be quickly increased again after many cancelled sailings (blank sailings)". He is also advocating that the availability of belly cargo capacity on passenger aircraft should increase. The Clecat President wants to prevent "or even turn back" unilateral EU subsidies, especially for ocean carriers.
He hopes for support from other European associations such as the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations Fiata. There Jens Römer, Regional Managing Director Switzerland/France/Belgium at a. hartrodt in Antwerp, heads the maritime working group.