B.C. trucking companies see a long road to economic recovery: survey

a highway filled with lots of traffic: B.C. trucking companies see a rough road ahead, according to the latest COVID-19 Impact Survey. (C) Peter J. Thompson B.C. trucking companies see a rough road ahead, according to the latest COVID-19 Impact Survey.

B.C. trucking companies see a rough road ahead, according to the latest COVID-19 Impact Survey.

Revenue has plummeted since the pandemic halted B.C.'s economy three months ago, and findings released Wednesday by the B.C. Trucking Association (BCTA) indicate that its members don't expect to return to pre-COVID-19 business levels for another 10 to 11 months. The outlook is even bleaker for motor coach companies, who expect recovery to take as long as 20 months, if they make it that far.

The survey showed that 92 per cent of motor coach company respondents are concerned about the survival of their business, compared with 32 per cent of trucking firms. The BCTA conducted its third COVID-19 Impact Survey between May 27 and June 9, focusing on data for May 2020, and according to the results, motor coach companies are right to be concerned. With international travel still out of the question, the need for charter coach services has plummeted.

Motor coach companies reported an average 97 per cent drop in revenue in May. Trucking companies, meanwhile, report a 23 per cent drop in revenue over May, up seven per cent from April, and half as many layoffs this month as last. Job losses at motor coach companies remain quite high, however, with the majority reporting over 40 temporary layoffs in both April and May.

"The majority of our members support government measures to deal with COVID-19, things like closing the border and following stringent health protocols to keep drivers and customers safe," said BCTA president Dave Earle. "What BCTA is looking at now is how to address changes to operations and find ways to help companies survive until B.C.'s economy starts to recover. "Our own concern is that business will take longer to rebound than we'd like, putting some B.C. road carriers in jeopardy." The BCTA called for changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, so that more companies are eligible to benefit.

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