The German Government is committed to keeping international supply chains moving

Handling air cargo at Leipzig/Halle airport

Handling air cargo at Leipzig/Halle airport, © ZB

06.04.2020 - Article

To protect public health, many countries have put entry restrictions and quarantine measures in place. The German Government is working to ensure that supply chains, and especially international cargo flights, are not interrupted by this.

The top priority of all countries during the current Covid-19 pandemic is protecting public health and preventing a collapse of their health care systems. The measures that are being taken include restrictions on travel; some countries have imposed complete entry and exit bans on cross-border travel. At the same time, in the interest of global trade and to keep countries supplied with goods – not least medical items – international supply chains must not be brought to a complete standstill.

Federal Foreign Office and the German Ministry of Transport reach a compromise for air cargo workers

Thanks to early consultations with many partner countries, especially in Asia, the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure have managed to ensure that air cargo plane crews will be exempt, to the greatest extent possible, from local quarantine regulations. Once crew members have observed the mandatory rest periods, they can board and operate return flights, thereby enabling seamless delivery of air cargo to the respective countries. Public health will be protected by providing crews with accommodation for their exclusive use, in order to prevent the possible spread of Covid-19.

In the current crisis, delivery of air cargo has become even more important

Especially for strongly interconnected national economies like Germany’s that depend on the import and export of goods, smoothly functioning international supply chains are extremely important. Air cargo has a key role to play in this regard. Transporting needed parts by air rather than by sea can minimise the negative impact of disrupted production among suppliers in countries such as China. Moreover, due to the current crisis, airlines are increasingly turning to passenger aircraft to ramp up their air cargo carrying capacity.

Thousands of German companies depend on deliveries from abroad

How important international transport and the smooth operation of cargo flights are for the German economy is evident in the numbers: thousands of companies obtain items and goods from abroad, especially from Asia. According to a survey by the renowned ifo Institute for Economic Research, 90% of German companies in the machinery sector, 86% of pharmaceutical companies and 80% of companies in the automobile industry are normally dependent on air cargo.

During the current crisis, however, it is not only manufacturing sector goods, but also primary health care supplies, such as medication and protective masks, that are travelling by air. The main air cargo routes are connections to and from the United States, China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, India and Malaysia.


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