Forth Road Bridge lorry ban ‘will cost £40m’

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) said the ban on heavy lorries using the Forth Road Bridge until February will cost the industry at least £40 million.

The bridge reopened to all vehicles except heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) on December 23 after temporary repairs were carried out.

HGVs account for 32% of the weight on the bridge despite making up only 9% of its traffic.

The RHA said the bridge will remain closed to HGV traffic until the end of February.

“This will have a massive impact on hauliers who are either based in or making regular journeys to Scotland,” said RHA chief executive Richard Burnett.

“The major distribution centres on the northern, Fife-side of the river are totally reliant on an efficient, swift transport system and we have had many reports from members who are already struggling to keep to their pre-Christmas delivery schedules.

“The news that they will continue to face delays and a massive increase in cost for another eight weeks will, for many, prove to be unsustainable.”

The RHA said the additional operating costs to the industry caused by taking detours will be more than £600,000 per day.

“Based on these figures, this catastrophe has already cost the haulage industry £9.6 million since its closure on December 4,” said Burnett.

“If hauliers have to wait until the end of February to resume a normal service, we can confidently predict that the cost will be in excess of £40 million.

“Many members have already had no alternative but to ask their customers for a rate increase – to ask for an extension until the end of February will, for many, be the final straw.

“We note that Transport Minister Derek Mackay has praised the team involved in the repair worked hard to get the bridge reopened and we would also urge him to support and recognise the hard work that has been, and will continue to be undertaken, by the haulage operators who are striving so hard to keep the Scottish economy moving.”