The RHA accepts that the EU wants reassurance that the UK is taking all possible measures to prevent the spread of the latest, more contagious strain of the Coronavirus. “However,” said RHA chief executive Richard Burnett, “hauliers have been working within the strict COVID protocols since the end of March.
“There are many serious implications to this latest situation, even lateral flow COVID testing will have a massive impact on the supply chain.”
For the majority of HGV drivers crossing into Europe, theirs has always been a solitary profession. Whether operating in the UK or EU, they take their responsibilities very seriously. Rest breaks are spent in their cabs and they maintain strict social distancing when leaving them for comfort breaks.
Richard Burnett continued: “Right now, HGV drivers caught up in this mess have limited access to toilet and washing facilities - the majority have none. Denying them even the most basic facilities is not only putting their health at risk, it’s exacerbating the very situation that it was supposed to prevent. For example, what will happen to those drivers who test positive? They will be unfit to drive but where will they go? They will be unable to quarantine with their families in Europe and what will happen to their vehicles? Who will be responsible for the deep cleaning of their cabs? And for those carrying return loads, what will happen to their cargo? This is going to be an extremely expensive exercise.”
And for UK hauliers, already facing a very uncertain future? Delivering Christmas goods to Europe will have been a last ditch attempt to save their businesses. Right now, it looks as though Christmas 2020, for UK and EU truckers alike, is going to be far from happy.