By 24/7 Staff / www.supplychain247.com / March 22nd, 2016
DHL Resilience360, an end-to-end supply chain risk management platform, has been monitoring in real-time the heightened security following the Brussels attacks and its implications for supply chains and logistics.
As reported by DHL Resilience360 at 8:21am today, two explosions had taken place in the departure hall of Brussels Airport.
It is believed that two explosive devices were detonated at an American Airlines and a Brussels Airlines check-in desks simultaneously.
A third device is believed to have been discovered and in the process of being made inert.
Access to the aviation terminal is prohibited at this time, with all flights being diverted to nearby airports.
The main roads leading to the airport have also been closed. Updated information confirms that at least 13 people have been killed following the twin suicide IED attacks within the departure hall at Brussels Airport.
A third explosion at the Maalbeek metro station in Brussels was reported around 9:31am this morning.
Preliminary assessments indicate that a suicide IED-attack has been perpetrated at the station, although this is yet to be conclusively substantiated at this time.
The train suffered critical damage resulting from a significant explosive device being detonated inside the carriage. Brussels Transport Authority has confirmed that all metro stations in the city are currently closed and that at least 15 people have been killed while 55 others have been wounded.
Brussels Transport Authority confirmed that public transport services have been suspended throughout the city on Tuesday, in response to the suspected IED attacks.
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. Authorities are advising everyone to stay indoors and take shelter.
Impact on Supply Chain & Logistics
Brussels Airport closure & impact on airfreight operations
All flights have been suspended at Brussels Airport (IATA: BRU) following the two explosions. The evacuation of the airport is reportedly complete and it remains in lockdown. Authorities have instructed people not to come to the airport, and the airport is expected to remain closed until at least 6:00 AM local time on Wednesday. All inbound flights are reportedly being diverted to nearby airports in the region.
The cargo area of Brussels Airport has also been closed down for security reasons. Both cargo handling agents and customs officials have ceased operations. As a result, 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 airport.
Heightened security at other European airports
Security has also been increased at airports across Europe, including in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and Finland.
The United Kingdom’s Home Office, following a government crisis meeting, announced earlier that security has been heightened at main transportation hubs including London Heathrow and Gatwick airports. In the Netherlands, extra police and military officials will be visible at all airports, railway stations and key locations across the country, especially in Amsterdam.
Local media sources in Germany are reporting that increased security measures have been implemented at Frankfurt Airport following the terror attacks in Brussels. It is believed that armed police officers have been deployed at the airport’s terminals. As a result of the airport closure in the Belgian capital, flights destined for Brussels are currently being accepted at the airport facility.
Increased security measures have been reported at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport as well. It is believed that the military and federal police have been deployed to all eight terminals to maintain passenger security at this time. It is unclear if the same measures have been implemented at Paris Orly Airport.
Local security officials in Austria have confirmed that they have been deployed to Vienna Airport following the attacks in Brussels. Armed officers have been seen within the terminals and outside the facility. It remains unclear if any other airports in Austria have upped their security levels.
Border closures & security across France, Belgium and UK
As of this morning, the French-Belgian border has been closed. The duration of the border closure has not been immediately indicated. French media sources have also reported that security at other French border points has been heightened due to today’s terrorist attacks. Additional police officers have been deployed at the frontier and sensitive public areas such as transport hubs. No further details have been released at this time.
As precautionary measures, the UK has also tightened its borders with Belgium and France and 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 due to the ongoing security incident in the Belgium capital, and will remain suspended until further notice. SNCB/NMBS train stations are also closed. Starting at 4pm local time, limited train services may resume at South and BXL North stations.
Thalys has suspended all of its services, which operates in France, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg. Eurostar and Deutsche Bahn rail services have been canceled; all trains from Paris have also been suspended.
Breaking news reports from the Netherlands also indicate that police have been deployed to Hoofddorp Train Station, where an international train from Brussels has been stopped. Armed police and SWAT teams have been seen entering the transport terminal and a stationed rail service. It is believed all passengers have been evacuated and the authorities are currently assessing the unspecified threat.
In Paris, the Gare du Nord railway station has been closed due to a security alert, believed to be a suspicious item of luggage. The station will remain on heightened alert when it reopens as the terminal operates services to Brussels.
Increased security operations around Brussels
As a result of today’s terror attacks in Brussels, there are a number of ongoing security operations in the city. Since this morning, the bomb squad has investigated two suspicious packages at the National Pensions Offices, near Paul-Henri Spaaklaan and Espl de l’Europe. The building has been evacuated, sources report.
Breaking news reports are also indicating that the authorities have carried out a controlled explosion on a suspicious package found along Rue de La Loi, Brussels, on Tuesday afternoon. The main street remains cordoned off, while the Royal Park has also been evacuated until the security operation has been completed. It is unclear if the suspicious item contained any explosive materials or was related to the earlier terror attacks in the capital.
The police have imposed a security cordon around the Royal Palace in Brussels. Pictorial evidence shows a police-controlled robot examining a suspicious package outside the property. As a result of the security operation, Rue Brederode and the surrounding roads have been closed.
A controlled explosion was carried out at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) Etterbeek campus on an unspecified item. In addition, two people have been stopped in the vicinity of Brussels North station by armed police officers. Details regarding this developing situation remain sparse and verification efforts are ongoing.
According to further breaking information gleaned from live data feeds, it is understood that the Berlaymont building which houses the European Commission has also been evacuated this afternoon. No further details are currently known, with verification work ongoing.
Avoid the abovementioned locations. As a result of the ongoing security operations, expect localized disruptions and associated impact on cargo movement.
Following this morning’s events, the Belgian authorities have raised the country’s security threat level to 4. Threat level 4 is the highest level in the Belgian system. Level 4 was put in place on Nov 21, 2015 for Brussels following the Paris Attacks last year, indicating the possibility of a serious and imminent threat. The threat level was eventually lowered on Nov 26, 2015. There is no indication how long the current elevated threat levels will last.
Belgian authorities are advising civilians to remain where they are until further updates are available. An increased security presence in general is likely throughout Belgium and parts of Western Europe at sensitive locations in the coming weeks. 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 beyond today. The situation is extremely fluid and can change on short notice. Monitor real-time alerts on DHL Resilience360 as the situation continues to develop.
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