From the Frontline: Mike Ponsonby, MD at MA Ponsonby, talks about the impact COVID-19 is having on his business

Will Shiers
April 15, 2020

MA Ponsonby helped to move 48 cabins to Barnet Hospital last weekend, which will form part of a new temporary wing to house COVID-19 patients.

“We did the job on behalf of our customer Dave Pushman at Weightlifter Haulage & Logistics,” explained MA Ponsonby MD Mike Ponsonby.

“We started loading on Thursday morning in Shrewsbury, delivered the first one at 1pm Saturday, and worked right the way through to 5.30pm Sunday. We were flat out up and down that M1.”

But Ponsonby says jobs like this are few and far between, and other than some plant movement on behalf of the Environment Agency, and taking a few export trucks to the docks, work is scarce. He told Commercial Motor than 40% of his staff have been furloughed, and their trucks parked-up. “I have de-taxed them and changed their insurance to laid-up cover, so that’s a bit of a saving,” he explained.

Ponsonby said the finance companies have been very understanding, offering three-month payment breaks. “In fact Lombard offered us a six-month holiday if we wanted it,” he added.

While Ponsonby acknowledged that there has been a change in attitude towards truck drivers in recent weeks, he fears it will be short-lived. “We have always been bloody heroes, but nobody notices until something like this happens,” he said. “Suddenly they think all truckers are great, but it will soon be forgotten. We’ll soon go back to being public enemy number one.”

About the Author


Will Shiers

Will Shiers has held an HGV licence since the age of 21, and has been writing about commercial vehicles for the past 25 years. He started his career as technical editor on Motor Transport, before taking on the editorship of Truck & Driver. Since 2011 he has been the editor of industry leading weekly publication Commercial Motor. Will is the UK jury member of the International Truck of the Year.

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