The Road Haulage Association (RHA) in the UK is pleading to the British Government to take the urgent action so desperately needed by thousands of transport operators.
“Road hauliers are the key workers that are keeping the economy moving in these extraordinary times. They’re keeping the nation fed by keeping shop shelves stocked and making sure that the thousands of front-line medical staff are supplied with the PPE they so desperately need, 24/7,” stated Richard Burnett, RHA chief executive.
The RHA has proposed measures that provide practical solutions in five key areas.
- A 100%, Government-backed, invoice financing package (debt support).
- Moving to a weekly furlough (lay-off) of staff to provide a flexible return to businesses.
- A suspension of fuel duty and a rebate for hauliers.
- A business rates holiday for all hauliers’ sites.
- A truck retention scheme for vehicles not being used (sector specific)
“If the economy is to recover from this,” Richard continued, “it is important that we can switch on the supply chain as individual sectors begin their recovery. No-one knows for sure when that will be, but we must make sure that the industry is up and ready to go at very short notice. We recognise that we need to play the fullest role possible in the recovery and these measures would ensure we can do just that.”
A recent RHA survey found that 46 percent of the UK’s truck fleet is not operating and 25 percent of drivers are laid-off.
Meanwhile, the Freight Transport Association (FTA), has launched its Northern Ireland Protocol Policy Report, a document to highlight key measures its members from across the logistics sector believe are needed to keep trade between Northern Ireland (NI) and Great Britain (GB) moving as efficiently as possible once the Brexit transition period concludes on 31 December 2020.
Seamus Leheny, Policy Manager for Northern Ireland at FTA commented: “Logistics is an adaptable and resilient industry; we are determined to make a success of the protocol and this report is designed to assist government in this shared ambition. The protocol puts NI in the unique position of being able to trade freely with the UK and EU while protecting all island supply chains on the Island of Ireland, however, we must ensure NI businesses are not disadvantaged within the UK internal market by any burdensome financial or practical barriers to this trade. In FTA’s Report, we set out the agreed text of the protocol and detail how we believe this will translate into the practical movement of goods between NI and GB under the new, post-transition UK-EU relationship. We have launched the report to coincide with the next official Government meeting on the protocol; it is vital the government listens to the guidance of industry and understands the measures it should take to keep goods moving as efficiently as possible.”
Within the document, FTA also outlines the measures its members believe Ggovernment should take to grow NI-GB trade in the future, in addition to protecting current trade; it also highlights existing trade flows and volumes and identifies the actions needed to ensure the continued efficient movement for those freight movements.
“Flexible, frictionless trade between NI and GB is vitally important to the continued success of our economy,” continues Seamus, “and the logistics industry is committed to protecting supply chains and continuing to move goods across the Irish Sea as seamlessly as possible. Northern Ireland’s future prosperity depends on the protocol being implemented with minimum disruptions and we stand ready to work with both Stormont and Westminster to ensure that NI’s businesses and trade remain as resilient as possible in the coming months and years.”