The UK commercial transport sector is facing a challenging and uncertain future – a possible double whammy of COVID-19 and a no-deal Brexit.

In the face of exceptionally difficult circumstances, John Fletcher, MD at Dawsongroup Truck and Trailer, advises fleet operators on how they can survive the challenging times ahead and prepare for future growth:

Act now!
Plan for the worst-case scenario.
Protect your capital.
De-risk your business.
Find efficiencies.
Work with an experienced fleet provider.

“With fleet operators reeling from the effects of two waves of the pandemic and two national lockdowns, a perfect storm is on the horizon – COVID-19 and a worst-case Brexit scenario.

“However, as the country heads towards a possible no-deal trading relationship with the EU, operators shouldn’t allow themselves to be panicked into doing nothing. Doing nothing is neither the best nor the cheapest option. In fact, for any business to survive and grow, it’s not an option at all!

“Despite the prospect of a busy Christmas, plans need to be put in place now if operators are to mitigate against the challenges and increased costs that the COVID-19/Brexit double whammy might bring.”

Challenging times ahead
Whilst it’s still very uncertain what will happen in the UK’s post-Brexit environment, fleet operators should be preparing for a worst-case scenario.

With the damaging effects of the pandemic still very much alive, they should be making their preparations well in advance of the end of the transition period on 1st January 2021 – in order to

avoid becoming a casualty of the COVID-19/Brexit double whammy and have the best chance of surviving and growing in the future.

The big fear is that, post-Brexit, costs will rise and fleet budgets will take a battering – at least in the short term – brought about by:

The introduction of tariffs (especially in a no-deal scenario).
A weaker pound against the euro.
A less flexible international labour market.
A smaller pool of appropriately skilled workers.
Complications in transporting goods between the UK and the EU.
Delays and congestion at border crossings.
The negative impact on the supply of new vehicles.
A tightening of the availability of rental vehicles as demand increases in the face of disrupted supply chains.

As a result, the price of fuel, labour, new vehicles, spare parts and rental vehicles will all increase. The overall cost of running a fleet with be pushed up and there will be some business casualties along the way.

How Dawsongroup truck and trailer can mitigate against increased costs
As in all difficult business situations, optimising cashflow will be crucial. The bottom line is to protect the bottom line.

So, moving from ownership to usership (renting, leasing or contract hire) could provide a number of benefits, especially when a fleet is showing its age, becoming increasingly unreliable and starting to cost more to maintain.

Having suffered a steep downturn in their business, drained of cash and facing a very uncertain future, many operators simply won’t have the capital to buy new assets and they might struggle to secure loans to finance such purchases.

With no large, initial capital outlay and with the security of fixed monthly instalments, usership is an ideal and safe option for businesses wanting to insulate themselves against the worst possible Brexit outcome.

It provides a complete package, including the overall service, maintenance, MOT, servicing, road fund licence, and sometimes replacement vehicles.

In short, it gives fleet operators the flexibility of having access to vehicle without the hassle of buying, maintaining or disposing of it. As a result, they don’t have to worry about the cost, time and other resources needed to maintain their fleets themselves.