New Government brings new Financial challenges

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The new Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD., seems very personable. While we know his preferred mode of transport is a bicycle where possible, it’s laudable, as long as he knows that people and freight must travel by truck and bus, we should be ok?  

Now that we have a new tri-party Coalition Government, and while it has saved us from the ravages of the Left, can this Government lead us forward away from an impending recession and the financial implications for transport firms?

Initial effects on national transport are believed to be the rapid completion of Cork Port in Ringaskiddy with its required motorway to the Jack Lynch Tunnel and the national motorway beyond. Then there’s the motorway to Kerry bypassing Macroom which has started and therefore the second largest port in the Ireland will have an opportunity to shine as a national container hub with increased frequency of services to mainland Europe and USA. The Green Party will support as it frees up the city for residential development and it demonstrates that sound commercial sense and the green initiative can operate together.

In the new norm the importance of road transport has never been stronger, long retail queues means that items are ordered on line and the practice of on-time seamless deliveries means that groupage operators are used for all items from home office supplies to the vintage mowing bar to cut this year’s hay!

From a financial perspective the transport industry needs to have a strong representation at the decision making table where new legislation will benefit all and help reduce its carbon footprint. Grants for updating fleets to Euro 6D are needed as well as increased weight limits to properly utilise road trains. Other initiatives are required to cover financial training and IT development and support innovation.

In this crisis the banks are shining, the pillar banks are coming up with new packages for secured loans, cash availability, investment grants to sustain business and while they will be seeking Government support for these, the transport industry needs to be forefront in benefiting from these initiatives as the economic development of this country depends on a strong and progressive transport and logistics sectors.

All operators are fearful of what lies ahead, every business is making provisions as best they can but the only practical solution to all transport businesses is that financial control is tight and monitored regularly. Make cuts where needed, see the warning signs ahead, look for assistance and do not always assume there is light at the end of the tunnel, as it may be an oncoming train.

In relation to the new Government, we know the Transport Minister preferred mode of transport around the capital is a bicycle, but our industry has huge potential to be a solution to his agenda – not a problem. The sustaining of a financially viable and strong road transport industry is absolutely in the State’s interest. Hydrogen or Electric powered trucks are not yet a viable financial option but the support to the industry re Euro 6D engine emission controls with increased productivity and electric mode final delivery ex-hubs for our cities has to be the short to medium term answer.

To summarise, transport operators need to maximise productivity and keep business streamlined and in line with all grants and incentives. The sector needs the new Government to support an industry that is now vital to the nation’s survival. Finally, from a financial perspective let’s make sure the business has a decent profit margin and liquidity. It’s a front line service and should be rewarded as such. Donal Dempsey.