Richard Burnett lectern Oct18

The RHA has added to industry calls for the government to pledge immediate financial support for hauliers who face going out of business because of the coronavirus crisis.

RHA chief executive Richard Burnett (pictured) has told transport secretary Grant Shapps to undertake a series of measures to ease the burden on operators.

These include immediate cash flow injections, deferment of tax payments and a delay to the launch of clean air zones by at least six months.

“We need to get immediate financial relief into these businesses over and above the measures announced in last week’s Budget," Burnett said.

“Without this support, businesses will risk closure as 85% of the haulage market is SME and holds no more than two to three weeks of cash flow. Any drop in volume will mean businesses can’t be sustained.

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“The government will need to provide more radical financial support to ensure they survive.”

Burnett confirmed that many hauliers have already reported catastrophic effects on their businesses as volumes of goods drop sharply. Container volume from China has fallen by more than 70% in the last six weeks and the flow of goods from Europe is becoming increasingly disrupted.

He said manufacturers delivering into the retail supply chain had experienced an "artificial spike" which would no doubt at some point settle once the nation has stocked up.

But he warned that there could be uncertainty with the possibility of retail and food outlet closures in the weeks to come, driving a downturn in volume.

Hauliers supporting the entertainment sector are facing an immediate collapse as concert tours and major sporting events are cancelled.

One firm reported that tours worth millions have been cancelled over the next three months impacting those hauliers directly.