The World Road Transport Organisation is calling on governments to increase efforts to support operators during the global pandemic.
The global economy is projected to contract sharply by up to 8% in 2020, according to the World Trade Organisation, with global trade decreasing by up to a third.
New findings have revealed the scale of the impact the pandemic has had on more than 3.5 million companies that provide road transport services around the world.
Goods transport operator revenues have declined by up to 40% during the confinement period.
“All over the world, commercial road transport companies, including millions of small and medium-sized firms, are struggling” said Umberto de Pretto, the organisation’s Secretary General. “Their most pressing problem is liquidity and many are now on the brink of bankruptcy, with financial difficulties expected to continue at least until 2022.”
He added: “Transport companies cannot be instantly switched-on as they require qualified safety and operational skills. Operator bankruptcies put the recovery of an entire economy at risk, as well as the steady return to social and community interaction.”
The organisation’s findings from transport operators in Europe, Asia and the Americas also point to key operational barriers. In goods transport, these are legal restrictions that prevent drivers working, congestion at borders and delays at loading and unloading points.
IRU is therefore laying out key short term measures for governments, international organisations and banks to keep road transport operators in business, supply and mobility chains running efficiently, to drive recovery efforts.
He added: “Drivers have risked their own health to bring food, medicine and essential workers to supermarkets and hospitals everywhere. Now, the industry itself needs help, so it can drive global economic recovery from COVID-19.”
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