The International Road Transport Union (IRU) is calling on governments and banks to help ease the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on operators so they can continue to keep supplies moving.

It estimates that global road transport activity could fall by up to 20% in 2020, depending on how long the situation continues, leading to a global loss in operator revenues of around $2 trillion (£1.63 trillion).

The IRU is calling for a number of measures to be taken to help operators, such as easing loan and mortgage repayment terms for large vehicle loans, VAT and tax payment deadlines and providing emergency financial aid to prevent operator bankruptcies.

In a statement this week the IRU said: “The economic burden is high, and growing, on both workers and the owners of firms. They are doing their best to stay afloat, however functioning supply chains and the mobility of essential workers depend on them remaining in business.

“To keep road transport networks functioning, IRU is calling on governments and authorities, as well as banks and financial institutions, to take various temporary actions to help ease the burden of the crisis on operators.”

IRU secretary general, Umberto de Pretto, added: “Keeping road transport supply chains and mobility networks open is crucial to helping us all cope with the COVID-19 pandemic in the coming weeks and beyond.”

“To do this, we need to protect the workers and companies who are the backbone of road transport, and to keep transport links open wherever and as long as possible in affected areas so that essential goods and people can get to where they need to be.”

Actions the IRU want governments to take include:

·  Greater safety standards for drivers, particularly when unloading and loading in quarantine areas

·  Traceability in recording and maintaining driver and worker movements.

·  The relaxation of driving and resting time rules to ensure efficient critical goods deliveries

·  The lifting of delivery restrictions so deliveries can take place at safer times

·  Easement of loan and mortgage repayment terms, especially for large vehicle loans, and VAT and tax payment deadlines.

·  Removal or reduction of tolls and road user charges for trucks and coaches.

·  Support programmes for temporarily unemployed road transport workers.

·  Guarantees to ensure cross-border transport of goods is facilitated

·  The provision of emergency financial aid programmes for firms to prevent bankruptcies.