A reduction in imports and backloads has led to more trailers returning to Ireland empty and the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) is calling for these units to be carried home free. Meanwhile, a road map has emerged to show how the lockdown will be lifted.
One of the many challenges facing the road haulage industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is the decrease in backloads due to the drastic reduction in market activity, meaning that trailers are returning to Ireland empty and so making the round trip less viable for the transport operators.
The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) is seeking support from Government to provide free transport of empty trailers returning from the UK to Ireland as the absence of backloads represents a direct cost to the haulier, making a run unprofitable. “This cost needs to be abated by the ferry companies rather than being levied on our members,” commented Eugene Brennan, President of the IRHA.
“Given the subvention given by the Government to the ferry companies, this could be a cost borne by the ferry operators as a condition of receiving the subvention, and not left to the licensed haulier to bear. An alternative mechanism would be to allocate a subvention to the haulage firms directly in respect of the empty backloads,” he added.
EU Commission announces roadmap to exit lockdown but more needed to ensure free movement of goods
The European Union has set out its road map for lifting the current COVID-19 restrictions across Europe and progressively reopening certain sectors.
For more details on the announcement please click the link below:
The International Road Transport Union (IRU), of which the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) represents Ireland has welcomed the announcement but has expressed concern that the increase in activity will result in even greater delays at the borders which have resulted from the containment measure.
“Green lanes are still not a reality everywhere, even with trucks representing the predominant type of cross-border traffic. Long waiting hours continue to pose the biggest challenge for logistics. Once the de-confinement process commences, more and more traffic, including private passenger cars, will overwhelm the newly created borders.
Continuity of logistics chains will therefore be seriously harmed unless green lanes for commercial vehicles become a reality and result in a policy that prevents systematic stopping of trucks at intra-EU borders.
Some Member States form convoys of trucks at borders, in order for the vehicles to cross their territory escorted by police. This is contrary to the concept of green lanes and what’s more, it is unsafe.” the IRU statement read.
The IRU also called for specific health measures such as testing, protection of drivers and disinfection of vehicles, stating: “Drivers should be defined as a priority category subject to preventive testing. They should also be given priority access to protective and disinfection equipment.”