According to the Freight Transport Association’s Quarterly Transport Activity Survey (QTAS), the freight and logistics sector is suffering a shortage of skilled drivers. Of the 6000 businesses questioned in the sector, almost a third were experiencing serious delays in driver recruitment (FTA). With warnings of an upcoming shortage reported almost 2 years ago, why have preventative measures not been taken to avoid this, and what does this mean for the freight and logistics sector, and UK businesses?
In October 2015, as part of their first ever National Lorry Week, the Road Haulage Association issued a stark warning that the shortage of drivers would have a serious impact for consumers at Christmas. Richard Burnett, RHA chief executive said: ‘We are short of between 45,000 and 50,000 drivers and the situation is getting worse. Thousands of older drivers are leaving the industry and younger people can’t afford the £3,000 it costs to get a truck licence.” (RHA). At that time, there were a reported 600,000 HGV drivers in the UK, with an average age of 57 (Mirror).
Two years on, the FTA have warned that the shortage continues, “At a time when British businesses are becoming increasingly reliant on an efficient supply chain, the lack of qualified drivers available to work could soon become cause for concern,” says Christopher Snelling, FTA’s Head of National and Regional Policy. Snelling adds “And with just over 57% of respondents to QTAS also anticipating a shortage of HGV drivers moving into the second half of 2017, it is clear that the industry needs a recruitment boost to overcome the potential issues which this could cause in the long term to Britain’s ongoing profitability.” (Handling & Storage Solutions)