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Road haulage firms’ fears for post-lockdown future

Road haulage firms’ fears for post-lockdown future

Hauliers are calling for more government support after a survey showed the scale of the problems the industry is facing due to the Covid-19 lockdown. 

The survey of 600 firms carried out by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) for the Department for Transport found that 16% fear they may go bust in the next four weeks. 

It’s due to a massive collapse in freight volumes, with 43% of firms saying these have dropped by 75% or more during the pandemic. 

That’s led to 69% of firms having to access government furlough funding, and 18% receiving ‘bounce back’ loans.

Post-pandemic future

Other barriers that firms report include reduced cashflow, difficulties accessing government funding, and customers failing to pay invoices on time. 

Now, as lockdown measures are being lifted, firms fear they will not be able to get back on the road as quickly as they would like. There’s a backlog of 100,000 vehicles waiting for MOT testing to restart, leading to safety fears among drivers. 

So how do survey respondents think the government could help them get up and running again? By introducing measures such as improved access to finance, a new scheme to contribute to standing costs for parked-up or SORNed trucks, and a weekly furlough scheme.

Sustaining cash-strapped businesses

The RHA’s Chief Executive, Richard Burnett, said that while government support had kept firms afloat so far, more needed to be done to kickstart their recovery. 

 “Furlough scheme payments and bounce back loans have plugged some gaps but they won’t be enough to sustain cash-strapped businesses beyond the very short term,” he said.

“Debt support, flexible furlough rules and a DVSA commitment to quickly expedite the MOT backlog would boost the industry as it gears up for recovery.”

How is your firm coping during the Covid-19 crisis? What action could the government take to help your business recover?

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