Forecourts feeling impact of quiet roads with a 40% fall in trade

Forecourts feeling impact of quiet roads with a 40% fall in trade
Open for Business: Tim O’Donoghue filling deisel at O’Donoghue’s Marina Filling Station, Cork. Picture Dan Linehan

Filling stations in Ireland are experiencing drops of 40% in trade due to plummeting numbers of vehicles on our roads because of Covid-19.

While forecourts around the country are exempt from the further restrictions announced by the government this week, the

Michael Griffin the CEO of the Irish Petrol Retailers Association (IRPA) told the Irish Examiner it was clear that footfall and traffic to their members’ premises had fallen significantly in recent weeks.

“We estimate that forecourts are seeing a 40% reduction in trade since the crisis began,” he said.

“It can differ as some filling stations will have large stores but clearly there has been a fall off.”

Mr Griffin said some of their members have also commenced laying off staff or reducing hours in order to keep trading.

He added that the fall-off in trade was particularly acute in urban areas which would normally see shorter journeys in vehicles than those in rural parts of the country.

“We do believe the government is taking the correct steps during this crisis and are doing a good job to keep the country running but it is clear Covid-19 will impact so many different sectors negatively,” he said.

This week motorway services station operator Applegreen expects to take a hit to profits this year due to the Covid-19 outbreak, but said it is too early to estimate how much lower profits will be.

The company has also frozen recruitment, scrapped a planned shareholder dividend and postponed bonus payments for executives in relation to its 2019 performance.

It is in talks with landlords over rent holidays.

Shares in Applegreen have lost 58% of their value in the last month alone.

The volume of traffic on roads has fallen significantly since restrictions were put in place to stem the spread of Covid-19.

The M50 motorway in Dublin, close to the Red Cow Roundabout, is one of the busiest sections of road in the country.

On February 20, the TII recorded more than 168,000 vehicles travelling in both directions on the section of the motorway between junctions seven and nine.

Last Friday, over a similar 24-hour period, the number of vehicles fell by almost a third to 113,754.

It was a similar situation in Cork where a traffic counter between the Jack Lynch Tunnel and Mahon recorded more than 78,000 vehicles on St Valentine’s Day, which fell on a Friday, Last Friday, the number of vehicles had dropped by more than 33% to just over 52,000.

The Killarney bypass recorded 21,562 vehicles on Friday, March 6, the busiest day this year.

However, just two weeks later this figure had fallen to 14,163 a reduction of 34%.

Traffic in Limerick on the M7 near Ballysimon almost halved from the 52,363 vehicles on Friday, February 7 to less than 30,000 last Friday.

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