The package of emergency measures introduced by government to support logistics businesses through Covid-19 is a promising start but more needs to be done, according FTA Ireland (FTAI).
Aidan Flynn, general manager of FTAI, which speaks for the sector nationwide, comments: “Businesses within the freight distribution and logistics sector are ready and willing to face the COVID-19 challenge head on but they need the right support from the Irish government and European Commission to mitigate the impact on the supply chain. In light of the new restrictions on mobility and the reduced access to international markets, FTAI is urging the European Commission to relax its rules on cabotage.
“This move would reduce the necessity for drivers to come home, allowing them to manage social distancing more effectively, while keeping ferry spaces free for essential commercial travellers. FTAI, are pleased to see P&O Ferries has now restricted cabin occupation to one per driver to protect their welfare; we expect Stena Line and Irish Ferries to follow suit shortly.
“As an industry, we are reassured to hear that the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, acknowledged in his speech on 17th March 2020 that those working within the supply chain are recognised as frontline service providers, working tirelessly to keep goods keep moving.
“FTAI welcomes the announcement from the Road Safety Authority that it will cease holding face-to-face enforcement inspections with immediate effect until 29 March 2020, while ensuring its activities continue to the fullest extent possible. This will offer some relief to fleet operators who have restricted access to their sites to focus on keeping the supply chain operational. We are also pleased to see a derogation on drivers’ hours has been introduced to help businesses keep goods moving across the UK.”
Under the updated drivers’ hours rules, the fortnightly limit for driving will increase from 90 hours to 112 hours. Drivers will therefore be entitled to drive an additional 22 hours a fortnight. In addition, the rules governing compulsory breaks have been relaxed.