The lorry driver shortfall could result in even more ‘gaps on grocery aisles.’
A scarcity of HGV drivers is threatening to disrupt deliveries, which could result in more gaps on supermarket shelves.
The Road Haulage Association’s chief executive has warned that supply chain gaps are already appearing in the supply chains servicing Britain’s retailers. According to Richard Burnett of Sky News, a perfect storm of coronavirus and Brexit has resulted to a 100,000-strong driver shortage. Mr Burnett warned that the shortage of HGV drivers had reached “crisis proportions,” and that the industry could take months to completely recover.
“We’re talking about a 100,000-driver shortage,” Mr Burnett told Sky News.
“Before the outbreak, we had a 60,000-person shortfall.
“We’ve had the perfect storm.
“Covid, Brexit has resulted in us losing EU drivers back to the EU.
“However, we have lost a significant number of HGV driver tests in the recent year.
“We have lost around 40,000 exams, so we normally have an intake of roughly 40,000 drivers.
“We only had roughly 15,000 people apply this year.”
“As a result, the problem has worsened, and the situation in this business has reached crisis proportions.”
The UK government has committed to address the driver shortage, but Mr Burnett warned that it will take a long time to fill the gap.
“Training the quantity of drivers we need will take at least 18 months,” the industry leader revealed.
“Training a new driver and getting them through their HGV test takes 12 to 16 weeks.
“As a result, this is a huge issue.”
“This is a huge issue, which is why we are starting to see gaps on supermarket shelves when we are unable to move products into the supermarket interruption centers and onto the shelves,” he continued.
It comes as Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen warned that the UK may face a generation-long lack of lorry drivers.
“The fundamental purpose of Brexit is that the UK should no longer be reliant on the sticking plaster of importing labor to fix problems,” Mr Bridgen wrote in a letter.
“The sector must examine why so many people have gone and, in collaboration with the government, must put the industry and its workers on a sustainable path, which must include improved pay and working conditions for drivers.”