Brussels under attack

Terrorist acts in the Belgian capital could cause severe disruptions to European supply chains Resilience360, the end-to-end supply chain risk management platform of DHL reported that at 8:21am on Tuesday morning, two explosions had taken place in the departure hall of Brussels Airport. A third explosion at the Maalbeek metro station in Brussels was reported around 9:31am. Preliminary assessments indicate that a suicide IED-attack has been perpetrated at the station. All metro and rail stations are closed and all bus and tram services terminated until further notice. Public, government and EU Commission buildings have also been either evacuated or locked down.

Impact on airfreight operations

All flights have been suspended at Brussels Airport. The airport is expected to remain closed until at least 6:00 AM local time on Wednesday. No cargo can enter or leave the cargo area, resulting in significant impact to airfreight operations. Expect potential delays in cargo clearance. In case of urgent inbound cargo with final destination Brussels, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport can be considered as an alternative destination. Thereby, it has to be taken into account that security has also been increased at airports across Europe, including in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and Finland.

Border closures & security

On Tuesday morning, the French-Belgian border has been closed. The duration of the border closure has not been immediately indicated. As precautionary measures, the UK has announced that it is taking steps to intensify efforts at the UK-Belgian and UK-French border. This includes enhanced searching of inbound tourist vehicles, additional opening of car boots / transit vans, a heightened Border Force presence at ports, targeted Border Force presence at specific ports, with additional security checks on some flights and specialist search dogs deployed at key ports including St Pancras and Dover.

Rail traffic disruptions

Eurostar services between London and Brussels have been suspended, and will remain so until further notice. SNCB/NMBS train stations are also closed. Thalys has suspended all of its services. Eurostar and Deutsche Bahn rail services have been canceled; all trains from Paris have also been suspended. In Paris, the Gare du Nord railway station has been closed due to a security alert. The station will remain on heightened alert when it reopens as the terminal operates services to Brussels.

Security operations around Brussels

As a result of the terror attacks in Brussels, there are a number of ongoing security operations in the city. As a result, expect localized disruptions and associated impact on cargo movement.

Outlook

Following the events, the Belgian authorities have raised the country’s security threat level to the maximum 4. There is no indication how long the current elevated threat levels will last. An increased security presence in general is likely throughout Belgium and parts of Western Europe at sensitive locations in the coming weeks. Please note that delays on shipments to and from Brussels are likely. Services to other locations in Belgium are being maintained. DHL Freight will provide further updates once they become available. As the population remains on edge and on alert, there is a high possibility of additional security alerts across the European continent in the coming days and further restriction on movements of goods and vehicles.
 Security implications will continue. The situation is extremely fluid and can change on short notice. Monitor real-time alerts on DHL Resilience360 as the situation continues to develop.

Author: Stephanie Leuwer

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