Northern Ireland’s hauliers need more help from Stormont, RHA tells officials

    The RHA’s policy manager for Northern Ireland, John Martin has told the Department for Infrastructure that they need to do more to help firms through the COVID-19 crisis.

    He told a Committee for Infrastructure meeting that the pandemic has hit the industry hard as 16 percent of hauliers claim they could be insolvent within a month unless they get more support.

    John said the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) has been slow to make progress on key issues including drivers’ hours relaxations, MOTs and driving licence renewals. He called for a review of HGV testing as the Driver Vehicle Agency has overseen a huge pre-coronavirus backlog, and said the lack of staff within the DfI with any knowledge or background in transport was a continuing concern to the industry.

    Ferry operators’ reneging on an agreement to reduce fuel surcharges for hauliers when fuel prices plunged is causing frustration amongst hauliers moving goods to and from Great Britain.

    The RHA’s John Martin

    He said afterwards: “It was a welcome opportunity to not only show our appreciation to both the Committee and the Department for their efforts during this difficult period but also to use the opportunity to flag up a number of concerns that need to be addressed.

    “It’s not in the sector’s interests to ignore genuine problems experienced by members and not use the opportunity to ensure these are addressed. I’ve already received positive feedback from RHA members and Committee members on the open and frank discussions and I will be following up on the issues to ensure they are fully considered.”

    The RHA has urged the UK and Northern Ireland governments for more help for struggling operators to get through the crisis and drive economic recovery. Key asks include debt support, weekly flexible furlough scheme, fuel duty rebate, business rates holiday and a lorry retention support scheme.

    You can watch footage of the Committee for Infrastructure meeting by clicking on this link-