The government needs to provide additional financial support to logistics businesses to keep supply chains resilient during the Covid-19 outbreak, according to FTA Ireland (FTAI). The organisation’s Covid-19 Impact Survey, released on Wednesday, April 15 , shows that 71% of logistics businesses have seen a drop in revenue since the start of the pandemic.
Aidan Flynn, General Manager of FTAI, comments: “FTAI’s Covid-19 Impact Survey shows the profound effect the pandemic is having on freight distribution and logistics in Ireland; we are urging government to act on the concerns of our members and provide additional financial support to aid supply chain resilience during the outbreak. While the logistics sector is vital in the fight against Covid-19 – it is responsible for keeping supermarket shelves stocked and ensuring essential PPE (personal protective equipment) is getting to the most vulnerable and deserving front line workers – overall demand for services is declining and all businesses across our industry are impacted.”
The survey, which took place between 30 March and 12 April 2020, shows the pandemic has impacted logistics businesses negatively in a variety of ways, including their ability to undertake business planning (reported by 90%), source supplies (reported by 85%) and the availability of staff (reported by 76%). In the first month of the pandemic, 17% of respondents saw customers go out of business, while more than 30% of respondents who work as commercial drivers report being denied access to sanitation facilities while doing their jobs.
Mr Flynn continues: “While logistics businesses are capable of handling the Covid-19 challenge, the survey shows additional urgent government support is needed to strengthen the supply chain. FTAI and its members need government to implement a range of measures to ease the business situation for logistics organisations – by making the process of applying for government-backed loans more accessible; expanding the criteria for the salary subsidy to include a reduction in turnover of 20% instead of 25%; and developing a clear roadmap on how to get individuals back to work after the lockdown, as this will have an impact on the broader supply chain in the long term.
“Our members also want to see an immediate provision of adequate PPE – including face masks, gloves and hand sanitiser – by government for all essential workers, including those in working in the haulage industry, to ensure they can keep the nation supplied with everything it needs while being protected from the virus. In addition, we urge government to implement a “payment holiday” from road tolls; this would have a positive impact on cash flow and reduce costly bills on a weekly basis. And finally, we would like to see a mechanism in place to refund motor tax for vehicles that are declared off road, in addition to the government giving VAT back to coach and bus operators for fuel purchases during the pandemic.”
Respondents to the survey include individuals from the haulage, own account agri-food, retail, manufacturing and fuel distribution sectors.
The survey’s results are available to access online here: https://www.ftai.ie/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/FTAI-Covid-Survey1504.pdf