Comments from Aidan Flynn, Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTAI)

4550

“COVID-19 has turned all our worlds upside down! The main thing to remember and to remind ourselves every day is that we are all in this together. All businesses and individuals are impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and the Government is concentrating on ensuring that the spread of the virus is controlled in as much as possible.

It was good to hear An Taoiseach stating that all involved in the supply chain are front-line workers and this includes drivers of commercial vehicles. They are a vital cog in the fight against COVID-19. The importance of Heavy Goods Vehicle Drivers, warehouse operatives and all in the supply chain has really been demonstrated over the past number of weeks. The profession of driving for instance has been too often beaten down and under-appreciated, but we are all seeing and understanding the professionalism and the dedication of our road haulage sector to ensuring distribution of supplies both nationally and throughout Europe.

We are in the midst of this crisis with no certainty as to when we will get back to normal life as we knew it. This is in our hands, the measures taken by Government with additional restrictions on movement and cocooning for those over 70 years of age are all being implemented to help manage the spread of this deadly virus. The coming weeks will not be easy, but we are resilient, and we will get through it. The Department of An Taoiseach published the list of essential service providers on Saturday the 28th of March 2020:

  • Agriculture and Fishing
  • Manufacturing
  • Repair and installation of Machinery and Equipment
  • Electricity, Gas and Water
  • Construction
  • Wholesale and Retail Trade
  • Transport Storage and Communication
  • Accommodation and Food Services
  • Information and Communications
  • Financial and legal activities
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical activities
  • Rental and Leasing Activities
  • Administrative and Support Services
  • Public Administration and Defence
  • Human health and social work activities
  • Community/Voluntary Services

The road transport industry like others has seen sweeping changes that no one could have predicted at the start of the year.  The FTA Ireland have been engaged with Government seeking to unwind and relax industry legislation, not to hinder business, but to protect it and ensure high safety standards remain in place throughout the pandemic. We have welcomed the recent changes to renewals of Driver CPC cards and the postponement of onsite compliance visits by the Road Safety Authority and the derogation of driving times rules; all vital changes in this time of need.

Businesses in the freight distribution and logistics sector need to concentrate on making sure the essential supply chain stays functional on a national and international basis. On Saturday the 28th of March the Road Safety Authority announced that the Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness Testing regime was being suspended until further notice. We are seeking clarification as to what this means for operators that have vehicles due for test during the coming weeks. It is imperative that these vehicles are allowed to be road legal during this time. Also, where driving licences fall due for renewal during this period, we are asking for an automatic extension to the licence so that essential drivers can continue to work.”

Aidan Flynn, General Manager, Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTAI)