The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) has made a submission to the Department of Transport, outlining the measures banking institutions and insurers should and could take to help its members through this difficult time and also through the recovery stage. Members are being asked to report any difficulties they are experiencing.
The measures that the IRHA has asked Minister Shane Ross and Minister Brendan Griffin to seek action on from the banks and financial institutions include:
- Moratorium on commercial loan repayments and lease agreements to encompass a period of recovery after the pandemic has passed. Economic recovery will take time, and this will reflect on the road haulage industry in a gradual return to full activity.
- Overdraft facilities– extension of terms and relaxation of certain conditions. Many businesses will need an extension on their existing facility and may be unable to meet certain conditions required for the continuation of the facility, e.g., the requirement to maintain a credit balance for one month per year. Additional penalties and higher interest rates for defaulting on these conditions would be very unhelpful at this stage.
- Availability of additional credit through SBCI schemes. Members need to be encouraged to work with their banks in availing of lower interest loans in order to reduce interest payments as much as possible.
- Deferral of banking fees. This will be of particular help to the small businesses.
- Extension of financial supports to personal accounts. Where a business is unable to pay its owner a living wage, the woes of the business will affect the owners capacity to keep personal finances in good order. Many haulage businesses in Ireland are small, family run businesses and there will be an obvious knock on effect on personal overdrafts, mortgages and credit card bills. These need to be taken into account when considering measures to take pressure off haulage operators to aid recovery.
“This crisis has clearly demonstrated the importance of Ireland having a dedicated national haulage fleet which can serve the national interest when required. As a National asset, Ireland’s haulage industry/fleet needs to be supported now to ensure it stands ready to respond, helping Ireland resume as normal a service as quickly as possible,” explained Eugene Drennan, President, IRHA.
“It is essential that critical supports are put in place to ensure that many businesses, which were already experiencing a difficult operating environment due to insurance cost increase and reduced business confidence due to Brexit, do not go under,” he concluded.