The newly-launched 2018-19 Van Excellence report has highlighted worsening van driver shortages, which could affect business operations over the next year.
Van Excellence is an industry-led scheme administered by the Freight Transport Association (FTA), supported by Mercedes-Benz Vans UK, Bott, Brigade, Hertz, Lex Autolease and Quartix.
FTA’s head of vans and light commercial vehicles Mark Cartwright said: “In a testament to the value it provides to the UK economy, the vans market has grown consistently since the 2008 recession, thanks in part to its versatility and flexibility.
“While there are many opportunities for further growth – such as booming online delivery services – there are also challenges ahead which all members of the vans sector should be aware of and prepare for, most notably, the increasing shortage of van drivers.
“One in five van drivers, operators or owners believes a van driver shortage could prevent their businesses operating successfully over the next year.
"These fears are exacerbated by the large proportion of EU nationals currently working across the vans sector in the UK, as early indicators suggest fewer are choosing to move here in light of the UK’s decision to leave the EU and the ongoing uncertainty about their future employment prospects.”
The proportion of van drivers which are EU nationals fell to 7.3%in 2017, compared with 12.9% in 2015.
Cartwright said: “Many van drivers are struggling with their mental and physical health but are unsure of where or how to obtain help. In fact, as detailed in the report, more than half of van drivers and owners believe there is a stigma attached to discussing mental health at work.
"Van Excellence is committed to addressing this issue and recently launched a campaign with the charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) to raise awareness of the resources available to those struggling with poor mental health."