Heightened Security Following Paris Attacks and its Implication on Supply Chain

Heightened Security Following Paris Attacks and its Implication on Supply Chain

Executive Summary

  • Countries across the EU have adopted heightened security measures and updated their security advices.
  • In the near term, controls across the European Union’s external borders are expected to remain reinforced.
  • Delays at external border crossings along key transportation routes, particularly in Western Europe, are likely.
  • Security threats at airports have also been noted, making it likely that airfreight operations may be impacted.
  • Localized disruptions will continue to occur in areas where the police are conducting counter- terrorism raids.
  • As anti-immigration protests, counter-protests and solidarity gatherings are organized, disruptions and congestions are possible in central locations.

Overview

Friday night’s attacks in Paris make 2015 the deadliest year for terrorism in Western Europe in over a decade. The assault was the most large-scale, organized terror incident to strike Europe in years, leaving Western officials reeling from the high-casualty attacks. Over the past year, terror-related concerns in Europe have largely centered on IS-inspired, lone-wolf attacks, worrisome because of their randomness, but otherwise typically low in casualty counts. Yet, Friday’s attacks involved clearly coordinated and highly trained extremists, suggesting that IS may be shifting to a more complex-style of attack that was once a hallmark of Al Qaida. Moreover, considering last week’s attack in Beirut and the recent crash of the Metrojet flight 7K9268—both claimed by IS—the group also appears to be undergoing a geostrategic shift wherein it is developing an external operations agenda: engaging in centrally-planned terrorist attacks, mostly on distant territory as a way to “retaliate” against Western intervention in Syria and Iraq.The attacks in Paris are likely to heighten tensions across the European continent, which is already on edge from growing Islamist extremism and the strain of a migration crisis of historic proportions. The latest attacks are likely to strengthen the argument of right-wing groups in Germany, Sweden, and throughout most of Central and Eastern Europe that have long been calling for a halt in the flow of immigrants on to the continent and the closing of borders. In the near term, controls across the European Union’s external borders are expected to remain reinforced.

Impacts on Supply Chains and Logistics

The string of terror attacks that hit Paris last week has resulted in bolstered security across European countries. Particularly in Western Europe, governments have dispatched a greater number of police units onto the streets and in some cases deployed military patrols. In countries such as France and Belgium, large-scale anti-terror raids remain ongoing and such security operations may occur elsewhere in Europe in the coming days. Security has also been reinforced across the external borders of the Schengen free-travel zone, which includes most European Union countries. As a result, there are reports of delays at external border crossings along key transportation routes. Security threats at major airports have also been observed, making it likely that airfreight operations may be impacted out of extreme caution.

Increased Border Checks and Traffic Congestions

Prior to the terrorist attacks on Friday, French authorities instated border controls from November 13 to December 13 to coincide with the United Nations Conference on Climate Change that begins on November 30 in Paris. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said it was a precaution “because of the terrorist threat or risk of public disorder”. The border control efforts have since been intensified after the deadly attacks on Friday night across Paris, leading to the possibility that delays to inbound and outbound linehauls are likely.

Due to the border controls, disruptions arising from extensive vehicle checks along the A2 motorway (France) and the E19 motorway (Belgium) on Tuesday were reported. Several kilometer queues were reported in both directions at the border checkpoint of Hensies/Valenciennes, with several checkpoints deployed on travel to both capitals, Paris and Brussels.

According to reports, long traffic queues of upto 10 kilometer have also developed at the Kapitan Andreevo and Lesovo border checkpoints between Bulgaria and Turkey. Slower traffic flows are also to be expected at border crossings with Serbia and Macedonia, according to the Bulgarian Border Police. Additionally, additional police officials are said to have been deployed across Bulgaria’s airports as well as at other strategically important sites and various state institutions. Similarly, Albanian authorities have tightened security measures on the borders with Greece and FYR Macedonia.

On Sunday, Swiss border authorities announced the reinforcement of controls along the Swiss-French border points following the Friday attacks. The increased security is expected to affect all exit and entry points, including secondary crossing points. As a result of the heightened security, Swiss authorities anticipate wait times between 30 and 60 minutes for all motorists through the two countries mutual border crossings. The duration of the heightened security at border points remains unclear at this time.

Germany has also deployed increased police security at train stations, airports and at French border crossings. Media sources have reported that the German federal police are searching all trains crossing into the country from France. Additional heavily-armed police are being sent to airports and train stations. Patrols near the borders of the French regions of Alsace and Lorraine have been issued armored vests and submachine firearms. Reports that a Montenegrin citizen, linked to the Paris attacks, was arrested on November 5 in Germany with a large cache of ammunition and weapons hidden in the body of his car will raise suspicion of vehicles travelling from Eastern Europe and could be subjected to additional checks.

Norwegian PM Solberg, on the other hand, has said that her government was not planning to impose temporary controls on the Swedish and Danish borders. As France calls for the EU to enforce stricter border controls, further measures aross the continent may be adopted.

Impact on Airport Operations

Breaking reports on Wednesday indicated a police operation was underway at Charles De Gaulle Airport. It is believed that police were focusing their efforts on the cargo area. It remains to be seen if the police activity will impact passenger services, however logistics disruption is highly possible. As of this writing, no further information is available.

Further reports from Wednesday indicate that eight people have been detained at Istanbul Ataturk International Airport on terrorism related charges. State media claims that those detained have links to the Islamic State insurgency group and had travelled to Turkey from Casablanca, Morocco. Other media reports from Wednesday show that all gates at the Terminal C of Schiphol International Airport had been closed due to a bomb threat against Air France flight AF1741. The threat was eventually declared a false alarm. Security forces closed Terminal C and carried out thorough searches of the plane after a threatening message was received concerning that specific flight. In a separate incident, Terminal 3 of Copenhagen Airport was evacuated due to a suspicious package. The threat has been cleared up but residual disruptions persist.

After an earlier threat alert, two Air France flights from Tuesday night headed for Paris from the US were diverted to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. No evidence of explosives was found aboard the flights.

Since the downing of the Russian Metrojet airline over the Sinai Peninsula last month, which is increasingly believed to be as a result of an onboard explosion instigated by ISIS, authorities are treating every threat with due caution. This is likely to continue in the foreseeable future. Heightened security and extreme caution may cause some disruption to airfreight operations. Monitor aviation alerts, particularly for inbound flights to Paris, to stay abreast of developing situations.

Ad-Hoc Police Operations With Localized Disruptions

Police in France and Belgium carried out more than 160 anti-terrorism raids on Monday as authorities move to crackdown on anyone with possible links to Friday’s events. In France, the raids have mainly focused on Calais, Toulouse, Grenoble, Jeunmont and the Bobigny area of Paris. As of Wednesday, intense police operations in the Saint Denis neighborhood of Paris resulted in a 7-hour raid on a flat suspected of housing the alleged mastermind of Friday’s attacks. In Brussels, police sealed off the streets in the Molenbeek neighborhood, long-known as a hotspot of extremist activities. The raids have led to more than 20 arrests and to the seizure of more than 30 weapons, including Kalashnikovs and a rocket launcher.

In Germany, a security threat deemed credible triggered the evacuation of the HDI Arena as well as the TUI Arena, both in Hanover, on Tuesday night. A suspicious package was also found in the main train station of the city, which was eventually determined safe. In the coming days, additional security measures can be expected at key transport hubs.

French media outlets cited police sources on Wednesday, November 18 that the individuals arrested earlier in the Saint-Denis area of Paris were planning imminent attacks in the capital. Initial intelligence suggests the group were preparing operations targeting Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle Airport and the shopping center at Les Quatre Temps in La Défense (Hauts-de-Seine). Specifics of the prospective assaults have not yet been released by the authorities.

Localized disruptions will continue to occur in areas where the police have conducted raids on terrorist. Authorities may seal off surrounding areas and roads on short notice if a police operation is underway, thereby preventing the movement of goods and motorists.

Anti-Immigration Protests and Solidarity Gatherings

As authorities identify Paris attackers, backlash against migrant communities and refugees are anticipated. News that at least one of the terrorists in the Paris attacks may have traveled to Europe alongside Syrian refugees has stirred fears for such backlash. The revelation is likely to prompt government officials already wary of the migrants such as in Poland and Hungary to harden their opposition.

Anti-immigration protests are likely in the coming weeks. The first of such protests took place in Wenceslas Square in Prague, Czech Republic on Tuesday. A significant crowd of people gathered declaring their opposition to refugee resettlement in the country.

Dutch media sources reported that Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident (PEGIDA) has announced plans to demonstrate in Rotterdam on November 29. The far-right group will protest from 14:00 local time at the statue of Pim Fortuyn, located in central Rotterdam. The march is set to go through the city before finishing at the same location. Increased security can be expected after previous demonstrations organized by the Dutch faction of PEGIDA have seen scenes of violence and multiple arrests. Earlier in the week, some 10,000 supporters of the anti-Muslim PEGIDA movement in Germany also gathered at the Theaterplatz in Dresden.

In Finland, media reported a demonstration against plans to build a grand mosque occurred in Helsinki on Saturday, November 14. A counter-demonstration occurred at the same time. Police kept the two protests separate and no clashes were reported.

Up to 20,000 people gathered for a candlelight vigil at the gates of the French embassy in Copenhagen on Sunday night to mourn the victims of the Paris attacks. Further solidarity gatherings are likely to be organized. As anti-immigration protests, counter-protests and solidarity gatherings are organized, disruptions and congestions are likely in central locations. This may impact movement of vehicles and good within city boundaries.

Heightened Security

Countries across the EU have adopted heightened security measures and updated their security advices. Following the November 13, 2015 attacks in Paris, the government of Belgium has increased the alert level for the country to level 3, on a scale from 1 to 4 (4 being the most serious). Both the French and Belgian governments have called on EU states to increase border checks, airline passenger monitoring and counter-gunrunning efforts. France alone has reportedly deployed 7,000 additional security force personnel around the country’s borders. Belgium has deployed 300 additional soldiers in the country, mainly in large cities, as a result of the heightened alert level.

The Austrian Ministry of Interior has confirmed that security precautions will be increased in Vienna. The measures will involve an increased security presence around all sites that are of importance throughout the city, particularly those with significant French or other international characteristics, and large gatherings of people.

Croatia’s caretaker PM Milanovic said that authorities were at the highest level of security alert while Czech PM Sobotka announced that border security would be increased as one of the Paris terror-at- tacks suspects had allegedly twice passed through the country.

In Italy, the Cultural Minitry called for museums and archeological sites to ensure that security procedures were followed to guard against terrorist attacks, while the civil aviation authority (ENAC) called on all airports nationwide to increase their controls and monitoring.

The Norwegian government has confirmed on Monday that it will postpone the scheduled disarmament of its police force. It is understood that the country’s 6,000 uniformed officers have been exceptionally authorized to wear their firearms on their belts since November 2014 due to a heightened threat of Islamist attacks. Previously, firearms were expected to be kept locked in police vehicles when not required. The heightened security measures will now remain in force until at least December 1.

Conclusion

In less than two weeks, Paris will host a massive world event: the COP21 conference on climate change, welcoming thousands of state and government leaders, company executives, environment experts, and non-state actors. Speculation is rife that the state of emergency may be extended to run through the conference’s end in mid-December, if not longer.

An increased security presence in general is likely throughout France and specifically Paris and at sensitive locations and events in particular in the coming weeks. As the population remains on edge and on alert, there is a high possibility of false security alerts across the European continent in the coming days. Monitor real-time alerts on Everstream Analytics as the situation continues to develop.

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