A STUDY of Victorian Transport Association and Victorian Waste Management Association members has suggested the transport, waste and recycling sectors are reasonably upbeat about the prospects of recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.

The associations, which represent hundreds of Victorian and national freight, logistics and waste management companies, actively engages with their sectors. As part of this, focused interviews were held with members to establish baseline information about the effects of COVID-19 in terms of customer retention, relations and revenue, human resources, future investment intentions, and trade expectations.

Among the key findings of the VTA/VWMA COVID-19 Industry Insights sentiment study:

  • Despite the downturn in global manufacturing and production, almost half of members (46%) expect international trade to increase over the next four months;
  • Just one-third of respondents (32%) indicated their staffing levels had changed due to COVID-19 over the last three months; and
  • Three-quarters of respondents (77%) have not lost any customers since the pandemic took hold.

VTA and VWMA CEO Peter Anderson said feedback indicated a generally positive attitude about the prospects of economic recovery, based on sentiments expressed by the associations’ membership.

“Our industry entered this crisis from a general position of strength because early on we were rightly not identified as non-essential industries, and therefore largely spared from the unprecedented compulsory shutdowns imposed across vast swaths of the economy,” Mr Anderson said.

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“In fact, demand spikes from consumers saw an even greater need for transport with supermarkets struggling to keep pace with panic buying. The industry responded magnificently to this challenge and we are starting to see a return to normalcy in terms of supermarket supply and demand.”

Mr Anderson said the crisis had, however, disrupted customers of operators prompting the VTA/VWMA to canvass its membership on the impacts of coronavirus and how they have responded to keep their businesses sustainable and their workers employed.

“While some sectors have remained strong other sectors that rely on specific commodities and products have not fared so well. Food, export goods and hardware products are moving in increased volumes while milk, steel and cash in transit have slowed markedly,” Anderson said.

Looking at trading conditions, almost half the members interviewed expected an increase in international trade and exports over the months ahead and another two-thirds said they planned to invest in new capital equipment before the end of the year.

“This is a positive sign that business is still working, with the government’s expansion of the instant asset write-down program a possible factor as well. We encourage industry participants to take advantage of this and other measures to support the industry and economy.”

The COVID-19 Industry Insights study can be reviewed in full here.

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