While the end of lockdown may be in sight, and with the vaccine programme continuing to be rolled out at pace, we must not drop our guard against the Covid-19 virus; it is still out there and our key workers are still on the frontline.
Of course, there are many ‘key’ workers, not least in the
NHS, but as you will read in this issue of Export & Freight, some powerful arguments are being put forward to have truck and van drivers and others working in the transport and logistics industry placed next in line for vaccination against coronavirus.
These ‘essential’ workers are putting their lives at risk to ensure the economy and its supply chains keep moving – and not to be overlooked is the critical role they play in keeping hospitals and essential services supplied going forward.
Another major and ongoing concern for the industry is the difficulties which have engulfed many businesses in the wake of leaving the European Union. Northern Ireland has found itself in a unique position. The so-called NI Protocol which was established to avoid a hard border between NI and the ROI, to make sure of the integrity of the EU’s single market for goods and to facilitate unfettered access for NI goods to the GB market has proven difficult to implement on the ground.
The European Commission’s vice president has acknowledged the protocol has been “administratively extremely challenging” but it remains the only solution, so let’s hope all concerned get it sorted without any further delay.
In this issue, we carry an indepth interview with Christian Coolsaet who took on his role as Managing Director of Volvo Trucks UK & Ireland in what was the most difficult of times, we report on the unveiling of the new MAN Individual Lion S, the flagship model of the new MAN Truck Generation, and we focus on what is something of a ‘hidden’ problem on our roads: bridge strikes; there were 26 strikes in Northern Ireland in 2020.
Of course, we also have all our regular columns from the RHA, Logistics UK, CILT, the Transport Regulation Unit and FORS, plus this issue also carries our Annual Guide to Shipping.