The Government will pay hauliers €100 a week per lorry to help the industry cope with the surge in fuel prices arising from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton announced the temporary emergency measure to support the haulage industry that will cost the State €18 million for the eight weeks it will be in operation.
The Department of Transport said that it would be reviewed thereafter.
The €100 grant was being made to more than 20,000 hauliers in response to “extraordinary circumstances”, the department said.
It will be provided to every heavy goods vehicles over three and a half tonnes, as listed on the road haulage operator’s licence.
Road hauliers had raised concerns at the rising cost of fuel as a consequence of the Russian invasion and the impact on an industry that relies on diesel to power its fleet.
The Irish Road Haulage Association wrote to the Government last week saying that the industry had been left in a perilous position due to the increase in fuel costs.
Mr Ryan said that it was “critically important” to Ireland’s supply chain, both nationally and internationally, to help the haulage sector deliver vital goods to people and businesses.
“The past two years have presented many challenges for the sector. Brexit, Covid-19 and now the crisis in Ukraine have put a cumulative pressure on the haulage industry,” he said.
The temporary measure reflected the Government’s understanding of that pressure and the importance of the role the haulage industry plays “in keeping the country going,” he said.
Ms Naughton said that it “became abundantly clear” after meeting the Irish Road Haulage Association earlier this week that the Government needed to provide “immediate support to a sector “upon which every family, business and community so heavily relies.”
The Minister said the Government fully recognised that fuel costs represent a much greater proportion of overheads for licensed hauliers than for other businesses.
“The vital role that hauliers play in the supply chain is also an important factor and these services must be protected to ensure the country can keep operating in these very challenging times,” said Ms Naughton, who has responsibility for road haulage and logistics.
She said she hoped the measure would “help alleviate” some of the pressure on the sector.
The new measure follows the Government’s cut in excise duty on petrol by 20 cent per litre and diesel by 15 cent per litre earlier this week that will cost the State €320 million.
The move came after oil and gas costs soared amid fears of a global economic shock following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last month.
The department said details of how to avail of the scheme will be communicated to hauliers in the coming days.