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UK haulage operators are estimated to see £7.5bn wiped off their turnover this year as the “catastrophic impact” of the coronavirus continues, according to the International Road Transport Union (IRU).

The turnover loss is 26% higher than estimated in the summer and has prompted the IRU to urge the government for immediate action or else face up to “a shocking number” of bankruptcies in the coming months.

The IRU research is an update to its June report on the impact of Covid-19 in the sector and found that across the globe, goods vehicle operators now stand to lose £512bn in 2020.

It said its measures for operating efficiency, profit and revenue growth rates for UK operators were all in high risk bands and pointed towards mass insolvencies.

“The vast majority of the over 3.5 million road transport companies that we represent are small and medium sized firms, and they are the glue that holds global supply chains and mobility networks together,” said Umberto de Pretto, IRU secretary general.

“Most of them are struggling to pay their bills.

“This is a huge threat to the global economy.”

He added: “Without immediate government action, a shocking number of road transport operators will go bankrupt in the coming months, causing irrevocable damage to supply chains and mobility networks, and therefore devastating the global economy.”

In September, the SMMT launched the ‘Safe Harbour Scheme’ for the automotive sector and its supply chain after it said 14,000 jobs had already been lost this year.