Haulage Sector Keeps UK Business Moving During COVID-19
The COVID-19 crisis has hit many of us both personally and professionally and the haulage sector is no exception to this.
Road haulage is a wide-reaching international industry and has seen a varying impact based on the ‘new normal’ of consumer demand and ‘pandemic regulations’ enforced by the UK government.
Supermarkets have seen unprecedented demand for ‘essential goods’ and have struggled to supply their stores quick enough leading to panic buying and restrictions on the quantity of goods consumers can purchase.
At the other end of the scale many clothing retailers and “non-essential” food businesses such as restaurants, cafes and pubs have no need for haulage services as their businesses have been temporarily closed.
Government support for the haulage sector
The UK government has offered support to the haulage industry in the form of furlough schemes, this grant covers up to 80% of a employers usual monthly wage up to £2,500 per month. For many businesses this has relieved short terms uncertainty but what help is available for long term?
The government have also issued COVID-19 financial support for small and medium size businesses in the form of the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme, the coronavirus future fund and the coronavirus bounce back loan with further help for large businesses from the COVID-19 corporate financing facility.
Driver and staff safety
If it is vital that your haulage business can continue to operate throughout the lockdown, then you must find a balance between any changes in operation – this might include balancing a reduction or increase in demand for your service and ensuring your workers are still able to perform their jobs safely whilst practicing social distancing.
There has been a relaxation in driver hours to allow haulage drivers to work longer hours - but at what cost is this to their personal health and well-being? We must ensure that ‘haulage keyworkers’, who often work alone, take sensible breaks and are well rested as any impact on their health is a potential impact on your business.
Looking to the future - haulage after COVID-19
It is not certain how consumer habits could change again in the future and how the haulage industry may need to adapt, but what is clear is that regardless of your business size you are likely to see some form of impact from the COVID-19 outbreak.
This will be particularly evident for haulage companies that are involved in international transportation. The government’s current advice is that all British nationals should avoid all non-essential international travel. This excludes international and domestic freight transport however; each country has its own regulations on border control which must be adhered to and it is not clear at what point those restrictions will be lifted to allow people to continue hauling freight internationally.
The most important part we can play is to protect the drivers and other key staff in the haulage industry, particularly their mental and physical health. Our staff are the driving force behind our businesses and help us achieve our goals.
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