What does COVID-19 mean for the UK Haulage Industry?
24th March, 2020
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday evening effectively placing the UK in lockdown there may have been some confusion as to which businesses are considered to be essential and that could carry on.
Clearly the UK’s haulage industry has a vital role to play in keeping the country supplied in these exceptional times so the carriage of all goods relating to the production and delivery of food, agriculture and pharmaceuticals et cetera is vital.
This will also apply to the carriage of goods that keep essential services running such as power stations, water and sewage treatment works and the like.
It was clear from an announcement by Michael Gove on the lunchtime news today that the building industry can continue where such work can be carried out safely – i.e. where workers can maintain the 2 metre safe distance and by implication supplying that industry with its raw materials would need to continue.
That said, while some building projects are continuing others are being shut down for example it seems that work on Crossrail has been suspended and Barratt Homes, Galliard Homes, Taylor Wimpey, Bovis, Cala and Hill have all announced plans to close construction sites to help stop the spread of the virus.
To that extent, the market will probably dictate what does and doesn’t get carried. As all retail outlets deemed non-essential (even Sports Direct have now closed and are now seeking clarification from the Government as to whether the sale of fitness equipment is essential) the delivery of their stocks is likely to dwindle.
This should free up further transport resources to assist in the delivery of food and other essential commodities.
It is also been announced that from yesterday the London Lorry Control Scheme, London’s Ultra-Low Emissions Zone and London Congestion Charge have all been suspended to assist essential workers getting to work and the delivery of essential goods getting into the Capital.
I understand that the Police in the North West have started to stop light commercial vehicles (vans) to check that they are on essential work. They may well therefore start to check LGVs so operators should consider issuing their drivers with a letter setting out the nature of the work being undertaken explaining why it is essential.
Here at Aaron & Partners LLP it remains business as usual although we are all working from home with just a skeleton staff manning the office. If you have any questions regarding any haulage or PSV operator please feel free to contact Tim Culpin.
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