Weather halts trucks

Over a million euros in lost revenue was recorded after around 2,360 Portuguese lorry drivers were stranded at European frontier posts because of snow. It took 48 hours before the authorities at Portuguese, Spanish and French border crossings finally permitted the lorries to move. And, according to Abel Marques, Secretary-General of ANTRAM (The National Association of Road Haulage and Public Transport Users), “a halted lorry costs 200 euros a day”.

Most of the vehicles were forced out of circulation at Vilar Formoso near the Spanish frontier, and were heading to Spanish, French and Italian cities. But the worst conditions were reported in Germany, where temperatures plunged to minus 15 degrees centigrade. Marques explained that some of the stranded lorries were carrying perishables, but the majority were loaded with footwear and textiles. “No provision for failing to deliver goods because of poor meteorological conditions exists in transport contracts,” he noted.

Most of the drivers seemed to understand the attitude of the authorities in halting their fleet. “It’s better to keep our trucks stopped than to risk our lives on Spanish roads because of snow,” said one driver. But another driver who was stranded at the Spanish frontier near Vilar Formoso said the cold had taken its toll: “The night here has been freezing and we had a lot of difficulties, principally because it’s so difficult to keep ourselves warm,” he complained. Trucks operated by Trakkar, Magalhães and Bruno and Luís Simões were most affected by the stoppages.