The Association of Pallet Networks (APN) is calling on government to suspend fuel duty for the logistics industry to protect hauliers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and secure the supply chain.

The APN, which represents the UK’s eight pallet networks, is also calling on the RHA and FTA to join forces with it to lobby the Treasury for the derogation.

Explained APN chairman Paul Sanders: “The majority of UK haulage operations are small or SME businesses.

“Their business model is very vulnerable to cash flow issues and their fuel bills usually account for between 30% and 40% of operating costs.

“A derogation on fuel duty could make a huge difference to business continuity and in minimising the number of losses from our sector.”

Pointing to the critical role hauliers are playing to ensure supplies continue during the COVID-19 crisis, Sanders added: “Like most businesses, haulage firms are currently suffering substantial disruption, unpredictable order patterns and diminishing demand from many customers – yet these operations must continue to ensure the supply of essential goods and to support critical services.

“The UK logistics industry is in the spotlight right now, providing one of the most important jobs next to healthcare.

"It is imperative we do all we can to ensure business continuity and the protection of vital jobs and distribution services.”