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IRU urges governments to promote and facilitate road transport to drive the economic recovery

Date

06 Apr 2009

Sections

Transport

IRU’s General Assembly unanimously adopts a resolution calling upon governments to stem the tremendous impact of the economic crisis on road transport by implementing the necessary measures to ensure the industry’s sustainability and drive economic recovery.

Geneva – The International Road Transport Union’s (IRU) General Assembly, representing truck, bus, coach and taxi operators in 74 countries on the 5 continents, unanimously adopted today a Resolution to reduce the impact of the economic crisis on road transport.

Government and industry sources point to a decrease in road freight transport activity of up to 50%, a doubling of the number of bankruptcies and a dramatic increase in unemployment (permanent or temporary layoffs), which already amounts to 140,000 jobs in the EU, 120,000 jobs in the CIS countries and 200,000 jobs in North America.

The forecasts for transport for 2009 are extremely worrying. Haulage tariffs are generally in decline in the first quarter of 2009.

According to the tourist market, the same worrying situation will apply to the passenger transport market. Indeed, the taxi industry has witnessed a 20% decrease in airport pick-up services.

IRU President, Janusz Lacny, warned: “Although road transport volumes have a mutually dependent and direct correlation with GDP growth, the current dichotomy in governmental policies is astonishing: while they grant huge financial assistance to banks on the grounds that they are vital for the economy, they keep imposing restrictions on road transport and plan to increase new tax burdens via, for instance, the revision of the Eurovignette Directive in the EU. Yet, if banks were to cease to exist, trade would still continue, whereas if road transport stopped, trade would come to a grinding halt! Governments priorities are clearly misguided.”

Considering that in today’s globalised economy, professional road transport has become a vital production tool, interconnecting every business to all world markets, and a key provider of safe, environmentally-friendly and affordable mobility for all, the IRU Resolution therefore urgently calls upon competent authorities to:

- reduce current taxes and stop creating new charges as they threaten economic recovery and competitiveness;
- induce financial institutions to provide adequate credit lines so that transport operators can finance their investments and operations;
- make insolvency legislation more flexible to allow road transport companies to reduce their transport capacity and pursue profitable business operations rather than liquidating the entire company;
- provide business incentives to transport operators allowing them to keep investing in innovative and clean vehicles;
- invest in road infrastructure to remove bottlenecks and related costs;

- create a legal and administrative framework enabling the road transport industry to place skilled personnel on inactive status without having to lay them off.

The IRU also urges transport operators to transport only if a profit can be made, if costs can be passed on to clients and empty trips can be avoided, as well as to stabilise market prices by reducing transport capacities and temporarily place skilled personnel on inactive status without losing them as they will be most needed when the crisis is over.

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Press contact: Juliette Ebélé, +41 22 918 27 07, Press@iru.org

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