Following a tough 2015, when hauliers were hit by both 'Operation Stack' at Dover and a late payment epidemic, a new alternative finance platform, Verus360, is offering to help businesses solve the cash flow problems faced by the UK's road haulage sector.
Last summer the migrant crisis and French strikes at Calais resulted in sections of the M20 being closed which created a 30-mile queue of 4,600 parked HGVs. The cost to the UK economy of 'Operation Stack', as it became known, was estimated at £250 million a day. The cash flow challenges this caused, particularly to smaller road hauliers, were further exacerbated by larger companies using their buying power to intentionally delay payments to suppliers (in the case of Tesco, for over a year).
Most road haulage firms work on the 60- to 90-day payment terms demanded by clients. To finance this, they have traditionally relied heavily on invoice factoring or discounting to maintain a healthy cash flow.
Firms pay a fixed percentage of the value of invoice to the lender, on top of which they are hit with additional fees for services such as site visits, annual reviews and audits. Although hauliers may only use the facility for three or four months in one year, they are typically locked in for a fixed term (typically 12 months). This pushes up the cost of borrowing considerably.
Tony Morgan, CEO of Verus360, explained how the alternative finance company can help: "We have set up a new form of borrowing that meets the needs of hauliers at a fraction of the cost of traditional lending. That's because we only charge for the funds they use for the time they use them. And unlike most loan facilities, we do not charge set-up, usage or other hidden fees."
Interest rates on the new facility are competitive and transparent, starting from 8% p.a., and personal guarantees are never asked for.