The Road Freight Association (RFA) is urging Government to open up all sectors of the economy to lessen the already devastating economic impact of lockdown and COVID-19.
“The movement of both goods and people is vital for the wheels of South Africa’s economy to keep turning,” says the RFA’s chief executive Gavin Kelly. “We urge Government to allow the transport and logistics industry and all its sub-sectors to operate fully, with immediate effect. If this does not happen soon, it is going to be even harder for our already weak and ailing economy to recover.”
Kelly adds that, with the ongoing restriction on the movement of some goods, many road freight operators are operating in a non-sustainable manner, delivering minimal loads but incurring all the operational costs (staff, vehicle costs, fuel etc.). “This is simply business suicide and cannot continue,” he says.
Last week Business for SA (B4SA) forecast that up to four million jobs could be lost this year. “By opening up our economy sooner, we could reduce this number,” says Kelly.
Kelly also reports that storage may soon become a challenge, with many warehouses now full to capacity. “We call on Government to open up the economy in a swift and responsible manner,” he says.
Guidelines for the pandemic
The Association developed a Road Freight Industry Protocol for COVID-19 which is currently used by transporters moving essential goods. This has proven to be highly effective. Kelly adds that other sectors have also introduced guidelines outlining responsible practices for their constituents.
“We need to boost economic activity as a matter of urgency,” concludes Kelly. “Without trucks, South Africa stops!”