12 April 2001 | Liam O'Brien
Livestock hauliers are losing £5 million a week because of the foot and mouth crisis, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
"The majority of the livestock hauliers operate on very small margins and a lot of them cannot even afford to be members," said an FTA spokesperson. "We are getting calls from them asking how they can wind up their companies."
The FTA estimates it is costing every livestock haulier nearly £1,500 per truck every week to have it sit in the company yard, and around 3,500 trucks are off the road in this manner.
A major problem for the hauliers is their trucks need to be specially adapted for livestock carriage, and conversions for other use are often not easy to do or practical.
Livestock haulier Gilders has become the latest haulier to shed drivers. The firm, which has been losing £50,000 a week because of the foot and mouth crisis, laid off seven drivers last week and warned there will be more redundancies among its 30-strong workforce unless the situation eases.
The FTA has been appointed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to recruit tipper-truck operators to transport carcasses to burial and incineration sites. But the move will not benefit livestock hauliers because they do not operate tipper-trucks.