Logistics UK and Driver Require will explore ways in which the UK can address the current HGV driver shortage crisis as part of an in-depth session at this year's Fleet & Mobility Live.
The UK has always had problems attracting and retaining professional drivers to the haulage industry, but a perfect storm exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit has led to a drop of up to 30,000 HGV drivers, which could increase to 50,000.
Almost one in 10 logistics businesses (9.8%) surveyed by Logistics UK earlier this year says the recruitment of drivers is an ‘extreme barrier’ to the recovery of their business.
Chris Yarsley, Logistics UK’s policy manager for Wales, Midlands and South West, will give a presentation looking at some of the ways the Government is being engaged on policy to help remove some of the barriers to progress.
Yarsley said: “We’re working with the Government across multiple departments, including the Department for Transport (DfT), Department for Education (DfE) and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to look at how policy can address the driver shortage.
“This includes boosting apprenticeships and access to funding there, as well as introducing short term visas to attract European drivers to help address the shortage.
“There are even things to do with infrastructure and facilities for lorry drivers that can make the profession less appealing, so there are many areas where policy can make a difference.”
Kieran Smith, chief executive at specialist HGV driver recruitment business Driver Require, will then reveal the latest results from the company’s Think Tank report.
Driver Require has been tracking the UK’s HGV driver shortage issue for a number of years prior to the Coronavirus outbreak and then more closely to investigate the way forward due to the impact of Covid-19 on the UK haulage sector.
The previous report in May had predicted that the unprecedented events of the last 12 months would lead to a driver shortage crisis in the coming months.
Smith said: “As a supplier to the haulage sector, Driver Require had already experienced a significant increase in demand and a scarcity of quality drivers – and agency driver pay rates are escalating at a frightening pace.
“As a temporary recruiter, we are at the coalface of the crisis but it will be our clients and ultimately businesses and consumers who rely on the movement of goods across the UK who will pay the greatest price.
“We need to raise the profile of this issue, dispel common perceptions and provide industry key influencers and decision makers the opportunity to act to secure the UK’s economic recovery.”