Rail freight companies have told of reduced demand, declining customer orders, cash flow concerns, suspension of business, and interruption and delays in areas including planning decisions.
In a poll carried out by the Rail Freight Group from April 8-24, assessing the impact of COVID-19 on its members, 54% of those questioned said parts of their business had either closed or were expected to shut soon.
Some 17% of companies have furloughed more than half of their staff, while 42% have furloughed more than a quarter of their staff. The RFG said 55% of all businesses have furloughed staff.
Nevertheless, the RFG reports cautious optimism in the sector, with 45% of those surveyed expecting their business to recover this year.
“Rail freight companies and customers are working hard to keep vital supplies moving, supporting the economy and communities,” said Rail Freight Group Executive Director Maggie Simpson.
For the FULL story, read RAIL 904, published on May 6, and available digitally from May 2.
For the FULL story regarding the railway's ongoing response to the COVID-19 situation, read RAIL 904, published on May 6, and available digitally from May 2.