From the Frontline: Cornish transport will bounce back

Many operators in the South West have been partly insulated from the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown, with one dealer predicting the region will bounce back quickly. Patrick Uren, MD of Redruth-based MAN dealer Patrick Uren Commercials, told CM: "The region is very heavily reliant on the transport industry, especially Cornwall because of its location everywhere is a long way for us. Everything is delivered on the back of a truck.

We have to keep the supply chains open because it is immensely important to the survival of Cornwall. Tourism is the life blood of Cornwall, it's how it survives, but I have no doubt that Cornwall will definitely bounce back. We're doing business and we're supporting operators."

For those operators that did have to take trucks off the road or furlough staff, Uren now believes many are in a strong position to resume where they left off, with the region's hauliers showing great resilience and resolve in getting back to work. "Our business is pretty buoyant at the moment, but so too are a lot of our customers. Initially, when the government announced the lockdown, it was a case of the world stopped turning and business stalled.

We had customers parking up but within a few days people readdressed the situation and started to take a different approach. Now, customers haven't just parked vehicles up and gone home, they're thinking ahead, making sure they're 100% ready to go back to work. Of all the sectors construction seems to be one of the worst hit, but they're being very proactive.

A lot of operators, even though they're parking them and inspection periods are extended, most are bringing them in to keep the compliance right - which is fantastic. The good operators are adhering to the rules and conditions the same as they always have done. They're waiting for the economy to pick up and I've no doubt that Cornish businesses will be quick to start back."

However, with domestic tourism expected to take a heavy hit from the coronavirus, Uren is understandably cautious about the prospects of the holiday season. "It can get very busy down here. Easter is when it usually starts and this is their [local businesses] chance to earn their money to survive for the rest of the year.

2020 will be very challenging for Cornwall tourism-wise and it will be interesting to see how we come out of it at the end of the year.

I think possibly it's going to have a knock-on effect short term, but it's going to find its natural level and life will go on.

Hauliers will have work and will be delivering goods because as a rule it's probably more national companies delivering into Cornwall, but when it lands its being delivered by local firms," Uren added.

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