Truckers call for fuel rebate as rising costs leave industry in crisis
OPERATORS within the road haulage industry will struggle to survive without government support and a much-needed injection of liquidity into the market, a new report has warned.
It claimed the industry is suffering from a serious cash-flow crisis, even though it is responsible for moving 95pc of freight in a time of booming exports.
The 'Keeping the Wheels Turning' report was produced in association with the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) by specialist financial services group Close Brothers.
Adrian Madden, who heads up the Irish asset finance arm of the UK FTSE 250 group, outlined some grim facts as he spoke at the publication of his company's first white paper on what the industry needs now.
"Driving forward growth and economic recovery will not take place without increasing our export base," he said.
Mr Madden pointed out that 95pc of Irish freight and 90pc of our manufacturing output is moved by the road haulage industry.
"The sector has worked hard to become more competitive, absorbing the increasing costs from road taxes and fuel increases, but this cannot be sustained.
"The crippling effect on their cash flow is threatening to put many companies out of business and that is exactly why we have partnered with the IRHA to raise awareness of what the Government needs to be doing, but also to enable companies to access the vital funds they need."
IRHA president Eoin Gavin said: "The IRHA is calling on the Government to support the road haulage industry through the implementation of an essential user fuel rebate which could be of critical importance to the survival of the industry and the countless jobs associated with the industry."
The IRHA estimated that the sector contributes more than €1bn to the exchequer each year in fuel duty, road tax, PAYE and PRSI without any financial assistance from the Government.
Meanwhile, Close Brothers said asset-based lending is outperforming other major forms of business lending.
Proponents of asset refinance said it can be used to ease the cash-flow burden. In essence, the lender buys the asset from the business at a percentage of its value and refinances it back over an agreed period.
A copy of the white paper can be downloaded at www.closecommercial-finance.ie.