The Irish Road Haulage Association has warned that several more large transport companies could go out of business before the end of the year. It said the rising cost of fuel and the availability of laundered fuel in the Irish market had brought the crisis to a "tipping point".
IRHA president Eoin Gavin called for the introduction of a rebate on fuel duty for hauliers, similar to those available in Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain. Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Gavin said the measure would be tax neutral because the cost would be offset by the increased number of trucks that would fill up in Ireland rather than overseas.
He said this would allow hauliers to compete with rivals who are using low-cost laundered fuel.
Mr Gavin said customers "at the moment are relying on illegal fuel to transport Irish exports, and that is a disgrace for this economy".
He said the price of fuel, which traditionally represented 30% of hauliers' cost base, now represents 50%.
Mr Gavin also claimed the association knows of "five or six other big companies that are going to be gone before Christmas".