Haulage companies are facing a major crisis due to a shortage of lorry drivers, affecting multiple industries throughout the UK.
Currently there is an estimated shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers throughout the UK due to repercussions from both Brexit and the Coronavirus pandemic. Around 15,000 European drivers left the UK due to Brexit. It is also speculated that some lorry drivers have chosen to quit the industry due to the new customs procedures that have been implemented since the transition period. The Coronavirus pandemic is a significant contributor to the shortage after disrupting the movements of around 30,000 hauliers throughout the UK over the past year. The pandemic is also responsible for the delay in HGV driving tests, which is preventing the training of new drivers who would otherwise alleviate some of the pressures that are currently on the sector.
The driver shortage is potentially going to affect many different sectors. Supermarkets are warning that the shortage is causing mass food wastage, due to goods failing to arrive on time. It is also affecting the amount of food that they are receiving at their delivery depots.
Farmers have also been speaking out about the impact on the movement of food as the shortage means that their goods are not being collected on a regular basis. This means they are left with spoiled goods, which significantly impacts their income. If this issue is not addressed soon then we may see a shortage of goods in supermarkets, which could lead to job losses, price increases and put serious pressure on the farming industry.
The RHA have said that the improvement of facilities such as clean showers and toilets and more respect being shown to drivers from businesses will assist with recruitment.
Writing to the Prime Minister, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said:
"It is our collective view that there has never been a more challenging time for this industry and we urge you to take these decisive steps to ensure that we can continue to maintain the UK’s integrated and finely balanced supply chains."
However, across social media many have been suggesting that a key way to make the job appear more desirable to more people would be an increase in the average rate of pay. They believe that wages are a major deterrent for people to work within the sector.