Hauliers hammered by British beef ban
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by Karen Miles • Hundreds of beef hauliers are helplessly watching the collapse of their milliontonnes-a-year industry as they fight a rearguard action for compensation and work in other sectors.
As abattoirs and ports slam doors on home-produced beef, livestock hauliers are attempting to come to terms with forecasts of a 60% long-term reduction in demand.
Temperature-controlled operators, hit hardest by the Europe-wide ban on British beef, also fear losing their regular backload work to foreign hauliers.
The Road Haulage Association and Transfrigoroute will be fighting for compensation, but observers believe hauliers will be lucky to receive anything—and in the present economic climate switching to other business will not be easy.
"How can we switch suddenly into other areas? Other hauliers are already fighting cut throat for that business," says Eddie Harper, chairman of the RHA's livestock committee. "This is an absolute disaster. A lot of hauliers are going to be put out of business and caught by the collapse of abattoirs."
The Transport and General Workers Union is investigating the dangers of handling beef for drivers. "We're not saying don't touch it at the moment but we will be looking at the situation extremely closely," says the road transport national officer Ronnie Webb.
Gloucestershire operator Peter Gilder has put his entire livestock fleet of 11 trucks, 11 trailers and workshop equipment up for sale.