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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Thursday, 02.07.2020, 11:41

Coronavirus risk is very high for transport sector, Lithuanian haulers say

BC, Vilnius, 28.02.2020.Print version
The risk posed by the coronavirus to the transport sector is very high, Mecislavas Atroskevicius, secretary general of LINAVA, the Lithuanian national road carriers’ association, says after the first coronavirus case was confirmed in Lithuania on Friday.

In his words, haulers plan to ask the government for help.

"The risk to our transport is very high. (…) We are ahead all the time. Such situations initially affect us, international transportation, as we work in Europe and service the industrial sector," Atroskevicius told.

In his words, the transport sector can lose part of its revenue. Moreover, there's a risk that haulers operating abroad might bring the virus to Lithuania.

"There are two risks. The transport sector will lose income since if production and industry stop, consumption shrinks, then, naturally, the need for transportation services will be smaller. It will affect our country as the transport sector accounts for around 13% of GDP, and our haulers in Europe service their industrial sectors," the LINAVA secretary general said.

"There are also other types of risks as those people who work might bring the virus to Lithuania some way," he said.

The transport sector generates a considerable share for Lithuania's GDP, therefore, it would be logical to receive assistance from the state during a difficult period, Atroskevicius said.

"Our idea is very simple. The tax burden has increased considerably for us in recent years. That's why we have said that we might lose that sector soon. If that sector makes money for the state, when it faces difficulties, it would be logical for the state not to state aside but help it," Atroskevicius said.

"We haven't made any decisions yet but we will definitely turn to the government. We are now drawing up plans what we could do. Both the government and trade unions need to feel responsibility in here as these are people who work in this sector. We should deal with these issues together. We fear of once again being left alone with the same problems," he said.

Lithuanian haulers service quite a large share of industry in northern Italy where there's the largest coronavirus outbreaks in Europe.

"The whole industrial sector is concentrated in northern Italy and we service quite a lot of it. If industry stalls, we will incur losses as we transport quite a lot of goods from Italy to France and Germany. We feel it already, and if the virus continues to spread, we will feel it even more," he said.

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