Following calls from the packaging industry, the European Commission has confirmed that the transportation of packaging materials for essential industries such as food and pharmaceuticals will be able to use its “green lanes” – essentially fast-tracking the movement of materials. 

The European Commission agreed with packaging associations across Europe that “green lanes” should remain open for packaging delivery. It is now urging EU countries to allow vehicles to transport goods between countries via these fast-track lanes, which should take no longer than 15 minutes to pass through, including checks and health screenings of drivers.

The ‘Guidelines for Border Management’ also state that: “Member States should act immediately to temporarily suspend all types of road access restrictions in place in their territory” and “transport workers, irrespective of their nationality and place of residence, should be allowed to cross internal borders.”

Pro Carton, an organization representing members of the cartonboard industry, says that short term demand for cartonboard has increased by around 30% as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with particular spikes in demand for production of packaging for dry foods, confectionery, frozen food and pharmaceuticals. Paper mills and carton converters across Europe say they are working hard to cope with the new demand, producing the packaging required to keep the supply chain stable and active.

Tony Hitchin, General Manager of Pro Carton, said: “The current situation surrounding COVID-19 is deeply distressing, and it is important that we recognise the importance of the cartonboard packaging industry during these difficult times. It is pleasing to see that the European Commission has acted swiftly as it will enable manufacturers to get their products on shelves quickly.”