Despite the continuing movement of UK freight and supply chain operations being specified as ‘essential’ by the government, the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown is diminishing the effectiveness of infrastructure and operations.
Port, airports, rail and intermodal terminals are operating normally, subject to the observance of safe working practices and ‘social distancing’ rules, which are impacting efficiency.
In essence every logistics function from simple warehouse operations to vehicle loading and container/cargo transfer now requires additional time to complete and has resulted in poor productivity at ports and each subsequent step in the supply chain.
The onward delivery may not necessary have been compromised but the operating costs as a result have increased.
Hauliers have furloughed on average 25% of their driver workforce, in efforts to reduce cash outflows and keep afloat during shutdown.
Numbers fluctuate across sectors, with air freight particularly badly hit, while food and other essential sectors are employing more drivers.
The RHA continues to lobby government for further support, amid concerns that the haulage industry may not recover to meet demands placed on it, in the short term.
Rail freight operations have continued, but they have had to take capacity out or run with heavy losses on some routes, while negotiations with Government on a business support scheme continue.
To combat high port storage costs, import cargoes have been transferred to inland terminals or warehousing until final destinations can accept.
Many inland facilities are now full and likely to remain so until June, which is presenting challenges currently and into the recovery period ahead.
Every aspect of UK transport operations has maintained a level of service to support import, export and domestic supply chains but, like all businesses, the longer term damage to our industry will be determined by the strength and speed of the recovery.
We are working with supply chain partners to assist recovery planning, but it is vital that we share accurate forecast for demand during Q3/4 to allow key decisions to be made as we exit lockdown.
We remain committed to protecting and supporting your supply chain requirements but, in these unprecedented times, more than ever we will need to work closely to understand and meet your business needs.
Click HERE to visit the RHA web site