Fleet News

Fuel cards: Credit ratings hold back transport sector

By Jakes de Kock, marketing director, The Fuelcard Company

So there’s good news on the horizon with early signs of an economic recovery in the transport sector.

It’s about time.

Both Shell and Esso have reported a rise in the volume of wholesale fuel being sold, which is a positive indication that businesses are picking up and providing more goods for the haulage companies to transport.

There’s no doubt that the sector has been one of the hardest hit during this period of austerity and while recovery is definitely on the cards, as an industry we have a lot of work to do.

Ever-increasing fuel prices and rising fuel duty have added extra pressure to businesses already struggling with sky-high running costs and many have been forced into taking special measures to survive.

A knock-on effect of these difficult times is that many hauliers and fleet operators have been left with a poor credit rating which immediately closes the door to various sources of financial aid, including fuelcards.

Another point to consider is the record number of start-up businesses which have been appearing as a result of
the recession.

All fuelcards require applicants to have at least one year’s trading history so access to credit for new businesses is simply not available forcing them to pay elevated retail pump prices and slowing development.

Although I am confident we will see the transport industry restored to its former glory, I’m sure none of us are naïve enough to think it will happen overnight or without a few changes to the way we operate.

Most importantly, we need to work together as a sector to ensure appropriate measures are put in place supporting the businesses which are so vital to our continued growth and future success.

Unfortunately, the situation for private drivers remains much the same with a drop in retail fuel sales as consumers are forced to leave their cars at home and find cheaper, alternative modes of transport.

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