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Information on road haulage

What exemptions from the driving ban on Sundays and public holidays are in force?

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In its letter of 6 March 2020, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure requested that the responsible federal state ministers use the principle of discretionary prosecution and abstain from enforcing the driving ban on Sundays and public holidays to prevent possible delivery bottlenecks. Since the federal states are responsible for enforcement, they have enacted their own rules in this respect. Further information on these rules applicable in the individual federal states can be found on the website of the Federal Office for Goods Transport (in German).

What exemptions concerning the driving hours and rest periods have been adopted?

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Against the background of the spread of the coronavirus, the Federal Government has decided to permit exemptions from the daily driving hours and the weekly rest period. Further information on these exemptions can be found on the website of the Federal Office for Goods Transport (in German).

Are there exemptions from cabotage provisions?

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No. The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure and national associations of the freight forwarding, transport and logistics industries - the Federal Association of Removal Operators (AMÖ), the German Parcel and Express Logistics Association (BIEK), the Federal Road Haulage, Logistics and Disposal Association (BGL), the Federal Association of Transport and Logistics in Industry and Trade (BWVL) and the Association of German Freight Forwarders and Logistics Operators (DSLV) - adopted the Freight Transport Pact for Germany to ensure the supply of the population in the current times of crisis. The above-mentioned associations gave assurances to ensure the functioning of the supply chains of trade and industry; therefore it is, for the time being, no longer necessary to refrain from punishing violations of the cabotage provisions, as had initially been planned. On 27 March 2020, a letter to this effect was sent to the responsible authorities. Accordingly, there are currently no facilitations in the field of cabotage.

What regulations apply to professional drivers who were not able to comply with the obligation to obtain a qualification due to the Covid-19 crisis?

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In accordance with the law governing professional driver’s qualification, the performance of transport operations is still inadmissible without having obtained the initial qualification.

In the case of drivers who were not able to comply with their obligation to undergo continuing education, the code “95” will be entered in the driving licence document for an initial period of one year. The obligation to undergo continuing education must be complied with as soon as this is possible again.

Moreover, with regard to cases where it is no longer possible to have the code “95” entered in the driving licence (e.g. because the driver licensing authorities in the relevant federal state are closed due to the crisis), the federal states agreed, until further notice, to refrain from punishing violations (expiry of the period of validity of the goods vehicle driving licence) which are attributable to the Covid-19 crisis.

What regulations apply to holders of a goods vehicle driving licence whose period of validity expires during the Covid-19 crisis?

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The federal states which are responsible for the enforcement of the Driver Licensing Regulations jointly decided to initially prolong a goods vehicle driving licence for one year if the proof of qualification in accordance with Annexes 5 and 6 to the Driver Licensing Regulations cannot be furnished, and, as rule, to issue a new driving licence. If the issuance of a new driving licence is no longer possible (e.g. because the driver licensing authorities in the relevant federal state are closed due to the crisis), the federal states additionally agreed, until further notice, to refrain from punishing violations (expiry of period of validity of the goods vehicle driving licence) which are attributable to the Covid-19 crisis.

How is access to sanitary facilities for drivers ensured?

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In its letter of 24 March 2020, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure asked the federal states to ensure that the toilet facilities of rest areas without services are open every day on a 24-hour basis and, if necessary, to also increase the cleaning intervals.

Filling stations in the Tank & Rast service network are open around the clock. Moreover, Tank & Rast has especially extended its offer of hot takeaway meals. Since 17 March 2020, the sanitary facilities of SANIFAIR have been open and accessible to all road users free of charge. The same applies to the shower facilities for long-distance lorry drivers. In addition, Tank & Rast checks at its sites that a toilet and a shower are available. If these facilities are not provided in individual cases, Tank & Rast will take remedial action. In the case of problems, long-distance lorry drivers may contact the “Brummi-Hotline” (hotline for lorry drivers) operated by Tank & Rast. 0800 9 555 777 (or by email): kundenservice@tank.rast.de).

How is the speedy processing of goods transactions guaranteed at the borders and the punctuality of system-relevant goods transactions ensured?

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In its letter of 18 March 2020, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure asked the authorities responsible for traffic flows on the feeder routes to the borders to establish, whenever necessary, fast lanes for HGVs carrying medical supplies and everyday goods at the bordercrossing points on the federal motorways. The following pages provide an overview of the measures taken by other states:
• European Commission on restrictions in the transport and travel sectors of the EU Member States: https://ec.europa.eu/transport/coronavirus-response_en
Information on cross-border services with third countries:
UNECE on cross-border services: https://wiki.unece.org/display/CTRBSBC/Observatory+on+Border+Crossings+Status+due+to+COVID-19+Home

Is there a central body providing reliable information on national modalities?

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The website of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure provides up-to-date information on measures taken in the transport sector with regard to COVID-19. Moreover, there is a platform at the European Commission to allow everyone to examine at any time the various measures in the transport sector that have been taken at the national level with regard to Covid-19: https://ec.europa.eu/transport/coronavirus-response_en

Are there any plans in Germany to refuse lorry drivers from other European countries entry into its territory or to quarantine them when they enter Germany?

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The decision taken by the EU Heads of State and Government on 17 March 2020 and its implementation in Germany expressly provide for an exemption for personnel employed in the goods transport sector and other personnel required for transport operations when entering the Schengen area from third countries. As regards the internal frontier, it can be seen from FAQs published on the website of the Federal Police (in German), that especially persons holding a German residence authorization and persons having their residence in Germany as well as commuters are exempt from the entry restrictions to Germany.

The enforcement of the Protection against Infection Act and, consequently also risk assessment, is incumbent on the federal states as well as their local authorities and municipalities. The website of the Federal Centre for Health Education (in German) provides information on the quarantine regulations:

Information on the transport of air cargo

What support will be provided to the air cargo sector?

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The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is committed to maintaining important functions of air transport and of the cargo supply chains.

On 15 March 2020, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure asked the Ministers of Transport of the federal states concerned to apply maximum flexibility for granting exemptions from the ban on night flights in order to bring back German citizens from diverse holiday destinations and to also admit air cargo at any time. All Ministers of Transport largely complied with this request.

In order to maintain air transport services, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, supported by the Federal Foreign Office, sent demarches to Asian countries to ensure that crews of air carriers are exempted from the quarantine regulations (inter alia, 14 days of quarantine at home). Equally, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure is currently undertaking major efforts to make sure that crews of air carriers which stayed in designated risk areas will not be quarantined in Germany. Currently, there is no nationwide regulation.

In the cargo-only sector, German air carriers do not issue non-availability declarations until further notice, since all air cargo capacities are required in order to maintain the transport of goods. The Federal Aviation Office has been asked to take pragmatic decisions on applications for charter services at the moment.

All reasonable efforts are undertaken to continue ensuring secure supply chains for air cargo to and from Germany.

The Federal Aviation Office can grant exemptions, at least until 31 December 2020, as regards aviation security training courses, thus ensuring the continued validity of existing training qualifications as well as certifications as screening staff.

The continuation of the work as regulated agents, known consignors and carriers will also not be jeopardized if their approval period expires.

The approvals of carriers, known consignors and regulated agents which expire in the course of the next few months will be prolonged - as from their date of expiry - for a limited period of six months for the time being, without an on-the-spot check. This prolongation of the approval is subject to the condition of compliance with all other legal requirements. Carriers may be newly approved for a period of six months without an on-the-spot check. At the moment, it is not possible to newly approve known consignors or regulated agents if the mandatory on-the-spot check has not yet been carried out.

Moreover, the Federal Aviation Office is in close contact with German air carriers in order to provide a practicable approach on how to observe flight times and rest periods and to grant exemptions to the extent possible without compromising safety.

Information on rail freight

Does the rail freight sector offer capacities providing an alternative to road haulage?

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Yes. Intra-German and cross-border freight transport is mostly operated as usual. Further capacities are available both with DB Cargo as well as with other railway companies. DB Cargo has activated a hotline for new customers under +49 203-9851-9000 where you can get advice on ways and means to shift transport operations from road to rail.

Contact information for the main non-DB railway companies can be found on the website of the Netzwerk Europäischer Eisenbahnen (NEE) (in German).

For advice and information on transport operations in combined transport, please contact Studiengesellschaft für den Kombinierten Verkehr e. V. (Research Association for Combined Transport) +49 30 2061376-0 or http://www.sgkv.de/. Kombiverkehr Deutsche Gesellschaft für kombinierten Güterverkehr mbH & Co. KG (German Combined Transport Company Ltd. for Combined Freight Transport) has also established a hotline for freight forwarders who want to use the railway for their transport operations in the short term: +49 69 79505-210.

How will the continued availability of overnight accommodation for train crews be ensured?

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In its letter of 24 March 2020, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure asked the federal states, particularly with a view to ensuring rail freight operations, to take care that train drivers will still be able to find overnight accommodation in hotels etc.

Can it be ensured that the transport operations are carried out?

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The rail freight sector is well positioned to handle even major disruptions such as those which were experienced in cross-border road transport. The intensive cooperation of the infrastructure provider DB Netz AG with the infrastructure providers of the neighbouring states as well as with the rail freight operators using the network of DB Netz AG makes it possible to take quick and sustainable action to master the challenges in connection with the measures adopted to fight COVID-19.

Information on maritime shipping and inland navigation

What facilitations apply in the maritime shipping sector during the corona crisis?

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As a consequence of the spread of COVID-19, Germany has suspended all regular port state control inspections of ships flying foreign flags. The inspections are currently carried out by an “incident team” and only in the event of an emergency (collision or grounding).

Furthermore, Germany accepts, until 30 June 2020, all ship certificates and seafarers’ certificates that expired after 1 January 2020. This guarantees that seafarers can continue their work.

In addition, as part of health care on board ships, it was decided that medical protective equipment for seagoing ships is not subject to the current export restriction. The objective is to keep seaports fully functional as hubs of worldwide trade. Further information can be found here (in German).

What measures were taken to maintain inland navigation for the transport of goods? What restrictions apply in this sector?

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All up-to-date measures and information concerning inland navigation are published on www.ELWIS.de.

Combined transport

For advice and information on transport operations in combined transport, please contact Studiengesellschaft für den Kombinierten Verkehr e. V. (Research Association for Combined Transport) +49 30 2061376-0 or http://www.sgkv.de/.

Information on dangerous goods transport legislation

Further information can be found here (in German).

Information on employment in the logistics industry

Does the Federal Government provide protective equipment to companies?

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The central procurement of protective equipment by the Federal Government focuses on medical facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, institutions for disabled people, outpatient care services etc.. The Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has established an FAQ area for questions (in German) in connection with health and safety at work.

What regulations on short-time working allowance are in force?

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An answer to this question can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (in German).

Are persons put in quarantine entitled to receive pay?

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An answer to this question can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (in German).

Are employees in the logistics sector entitled to emergency child care?

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The relevant authorities of the federal states adopt regulations concerning the entitlement to emergency child care.

Are employees who have to stay at home to provide the necessary child care entitled to receive pay?

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An answer to this question can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (in German).

What flexible arrangements have been adopted with regard to the Working Time Act in the context of the corona crisis?

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An answer to this question can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (in German).

What rules apply to employee leasing?

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In principle, the leasing of employees is subject to permission in accordance with the Act on Temporary Agency Work. If a company intends to lease its own employees by way of exception only during the ongoing corona crisis to another company with an acute shortage of labour, this will be possible in these exceptional cases even without permission (Section 1 (3) (2a) of the Act on Temporary Agency Work). The precondition is that

  • the employees concerned must have consented to this assignment,
  • the company leasing its employees does not intend to act as a supplier of temporary employees on a permanent basis and
  • the individual assignment is only effective for a limited period of time, i.e. the current crisis situation.

The employees assigned must at least be given the same status as the permanent staff as regards their working arrangements. This applies especially to their pay. This information can also be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (in German).

Is it permitted to form labour pools for each mode of transport?

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The pooling of labour does not constitute a problem if it serves the exchange of information among the companies. For example, if companies interested in this measure create a platform to indicate their demand and supply and agree on this basis to permit occasional assignments during the corona crisis, this will be possible without unnecessary bureaucracy. It will become difficult in cases where for example a staffing agency, i.e. a supplier, is created. This would be subject to the Act on Temporary Agency Work and therefore requires permission.

Are employers in the logistics sector obliged to take special precautionary measures for their employees?

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For behavioural rules and prevention measures, please consult the information website of the Federal Ministry of Health (in German).

Support for companies

What support does the Federal Government provide to companies?

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An answer to this question can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (in German).

What facilitations apply to companies with regard to the obligation to file an insolvency application?

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