In order to help companies coping with the impact of COVID-19 and to prepare for the future or the ‘new normal’ as it gets referred to, RoadSafetyUAE reached out to a range of Top Executives in our eco-system for their views.

We sincerely want to thank the participating companies and their Top Executives for sharing their valuable views!

COVID-19 4x Q's + 4x A's MiX Telematics - Serco LI Format

Peter Mohring
Managing Director, Transport – Serco Middle East

Q: In what ways has your business been impacted by COVID-19?
A: We understand some of our clients’ needs have changed and we are working closely to help support them. In terms of transport, movement restrictions have meant we pared back a lot of our work in this sector and where certain contracts needed a reduction in the number of staff, we temporarily redeployed where possible to other contracts.

Across the world, Serco is assisting national governments and health providers with their response to the COVID-19 crisis, serving additional demand and support with the cover of staff absence. We have a number of solutions ready to deploy in the Middle East as and when needed and have also partnered with a number of companies in the region to offer end to end solutions for temporary medical facilities for example. It is refreshing to see the local business community unite to help society overcome COVID19 and its effects.

Before it was mandated, we had undertaken a business continuity exercise and implemented remote working where possible. The technology infrastructure we have in place allows us to keep communication lines open between colleagues and clients, no matter what location we are working from. Our employees’ well-being is our number one priority and we have a number of initiatives in place to keep them safe, both physically and mentally.

Q: Where do you see your business in 12 months’ time?
A: Transport Economic Outlook
After careful analysis we have determined that the most accurate forecast for the U.A.E economic recovery for the transport industry is based on a U curve. Specifically in aviation, how protracted and slow the curve rise will be is currently unknown but we are projecting a medium-term downswing and then slow escalation starting end Q1 or within Q2 2021.

The global lock-down has suppressed non-discretionary spending, leading to losses in jobs and uncertainty in business continuity. This suppression will lead to medium term declines as well as spend on travel. Once a vaccine or treatment is made available to the common public, consumer sentiment will begin to rise and so will confidence in travel, leading to a beginning of a recovery in 2021.

Declines in oil are a result of the transport industry in lock-down as well as manufacturing shutdowns. Once lock-downs are lifted and manufacturing resumes, Oil demand will once again steadily rise to stable levels resulting in spending on new projects as well as increase in GCC consumer confidence

Serco envisages the next 12 months to be one of continuous collaboration with all stakeholders in the industry as the evolution of new ways of working are implemented to manage the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are committed to working closely with our key transport clients to help improve operational resilience and develop bespoke solutions to a number of key challenges the industry is facing including but not limited to:

Reduce Fixed Costs
Fixed cost pricing models need to transform into variable cost contracts with suppliers. A reduction across other costs such as staff, benefits and physical assets need resolution.

Strengthen Balance Sheet
Liquidity is one of the key issues around finances for transport organisations. Suppliers, providers and internal costs will need to be adjusted from a commercial and payment terms perspective.

The Customer Experience
The new world will require a buildup of confidence in customers’ safety as well as new ways of travelling for before and after the crisis that will need investment.

Transformation Programmes
Back burner programs and delayed projects will need to be accelerated, cancelled or re-evaluated against the new state of play globally.

Q: What are the major Transport changes (internal & external) you foresee for the ‘new normal’ post COVID-19?
A: Social distancing measures will have a great impact on the transport industry. These measures will lead to lower holding capacity on planes and trains as well as within the land, sea and air hubs. Queuing will have to be reconfigured to accommodate lateral distances as well as infrastructure limitations. I foresee manpower requirements from suppliers rising to reduce waiting times and to enforce safety measures and the need for adjustments to passenger processing in terms of distance and timings.

There is likely to be an impact to travel duration. Increased checks of information, medical tests and social distancing measures will increase passenger processing times and a delay on on-boarding and off-boarding will reduce turnaround times for planes. New on-boarding and luggage processing procedures will have to be put in place.