Coronavirus: UK & Irish transport companies united in their response to this unprecedented pandemic
Here in Vrio we are always happy to highlight the haulage sector’s incredible hard work and sacrifice as well as the massive contribution it makes to keeping our countries fed, safe and healthy. The Coronavirus pandemic is the perfect example of how our hauliers operate on the front line, in very testing circumstances that are often ignored and too often undervalued. Hauliers are operating around the clock to ensure that our supermarkets are fully stocked, our pharmacies, surgeries and hospitals fully supplied and our public services fully prepared to meet the unique challenges of this very unique crisis. However, there are many companies that do not operate contracts in the food or medicine sectors and it is those businesses that are facing the biggest threat from the Covid-19-induced economic slump. We have reached out to some of our customers to hear directly from them about their experiences during the Coronavirus crisis and have been amazed at both their resilience and how united they are in tackling and overcoming the crisis whilst guaranteeing the safety of their team members and the continuity of their business operations.
Pete White from White’s Transport based in Hungerford says that although “We are still going to Europe with our trucks as the food industry has to keep moving, we are taking no risks; for me it doesn’t matter where you are, it’s how you behave. We are limiting all personal contact as much as possible. Our drivers are staying in the trucks at collection & delivery points wearing masks and gloves.” The transport industry understands perhaps more clearly than others the risks involved to their staff and the importance of keeping them fit and well in order to continue to deliver essential goods across the UK, Ireland and the rest of Europe. Lesley Gillespie at Lyons Transport based in Northern Ireland however is only too aware of the potential economic risks for transport companies whose work is not linked to these essential products “It is a complete unknown as we don’t really know how long the lock down will last for although it will likely be more than three weeks. As a haulage company we transport all sorts of goods but do not have a dedicated customer/s for the transport of foodstuffs which is a vital element for all throughout this pandemic. We will be able to honour the work we have at present but ultimately this will run its course and from there, like a lot of businesses, we don’t know how things will pan out.”
It is precisely this uncertainty that is creating so much concern for business owners across the continent. As a result Lesley from Lyon’s would like to see “even more help and advice from government agencies providing increased support for employees as a lot of non-essential companies are still insisting that their employees go to work, yet workers are often being left very much in the dark about their rights”. Pete from White’s insists that “ the country will never be the same again after this. There will be many Haulage Companies that will not survive.”
So, the risks are very clear to all involved in our key industries – Coronavirus is challenging the foundations of our public health service and our economic structures. The government’s job is to coordinate the recovery of both and we support all measures announced that are aimed at attacking both fronts in the war against Coronavirus.