Haulage Blog

By Mitul Malkan, Product Manager at ERS

These are unprecedented times for UK industry, and one of the most peculiar consequences of the Covid-19 crisis is that the subject of haulage has become a regular topic of household conversation. Everyone, it seems, has recognised their vested interest in ensuring that goods and supplies keep flowing across the land.

Hence, at a time when many of us are confined to our home offices and laptops, or forced off work altogether, our hauliers are still out on the roads, many of them working harder than ever before due to the constant upheaval, as well as a massive spike in demand caused by panic buying.

For any hauliers delivering ‘essential items’ – defined as food, non-food (personal care and household paper and cleaning) and over the counter pharmaceuticals – the restrictions on drivers’ working hours have been temporarily relaxed, allowing existing drivers to work for longer in order to get vital deliveries made. One of the big transportation suppliers to the FMCG and drinks industries is already calling for additional hauliers to help meet the immediate spike in demand for food. Some employment agencies are scrapping their fees to try and help firms secure enough short-term drivers to keep the supply chain moving. The effort is industry-wide.

To date much of the media scrutiny on the haulage industry has been on grocery shopping and empty supermarket shelves. However, chemists are also suffering due to sharp rises in demand for pain relief medication and, as the knock-on effects of coronavirus become clear, it’s likely that we’ll start to see further shifts in haulage needs across the land.

Furthermore, while all businesses have been disrupted by the pandemic, the country is not closed for business. There are myriad firms that still rely upon the ongoing supply of non-FMCG products every single day.

What’s important to remember is that 85% of the total haulage market is comprised of SME suppliers. These SMEs are not typically pure-pay transportation businesses. Many of them provide haulage as a part of their wider business – for example, manufacturing their own products and then supplying them to customers 365 days a year.

Unfortunately, these organisations often struggle to find affordable insurance from mainstream providers to cover their vehicles and drivers because they’re viewed as a more uncertain prospect than larger haulage specialists.

However, our Commercial team take a different approach, using manual underwriting on a case by case basis as well as automated systems, to accurately assess each organisation’s true risk level and provide bespoke motor policies to cover a more diverse range of customer needs – including any organisations that needs to add on additional vehicles onto their existing policy.

Specialist haulage Brokers can request access to our Transportation product details and pricing for haulage vehicles of up to 44 tonnes via our eTrade application, and we’re also very happy to receive manual referrals for vehicles outside of these criteria, or for those transporting hazardous goods.

Ultimately, as Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Royal Haulage Association puts it, “The transport industry is integral to keeping the UK moving.” Whatever happens over the weeks and months to come, we’ll be doing what we can to support the nations hauliers as they navigate these challenging and precarious operating conditions.

If you’re looking for Transportation insurance advice in these unprecedented times, please contact our specialist team at commercialquotes@ers.com

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