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Driver Shortage ‘Main Problem For Construction Product Supplies’

A lack of drivers in the haulage sector is the primary problem facing the construction sector in terms of supplies, according to an update from the co-chairs of the Construction Leadership Council’s Product Availability Working Group.

In a joint statement from John Newcomb, the CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation and CEO of the Construction Products Association Peter Caplehorn, this shortage was listed as the primary concern, with “with some suppliers asking builders merchants to collect their orders as they cannot get enough drivers to complete deliveries”.

They added: “Regional distribution is a particular issue, with some finding challenges arranging deliveries to Scotland and the South West of England.”

This means supplies of haulage drivers are more of an issue than any shortage of haulage equipment, even though all kinds of products are in distinctly short supply. The statement noted that this particularly applies to “timber, cement, roofing products, bricks, blocks, insulation, steel and cable management systems”, while a global shortfall of semiconductors continues.

However, they stated that the overall supply situation “has not changed substantially”, although this is primarily due to the holiday period easing demand and some projects being cancelled due to supply shortages.

Materials inflation has slowed down, but is not expected to “stabilise” until next year.  

Writing for Business Daily about the issues faced by the supply chain, founder and principal consultant of automotive solutions firm OP2MA Calum Lewis said the need for more “resilient” supply chains is something the global pandemic has highlighted.

He noted that for years the economic conditions surrounding logistics have helped keep driver pay low, a situation that will now need to be revised in order to increase staffing numbers.

Such actions may help build greater resilience in the future, helping industry, construction, food distribution and other services to avoid the kind of strains that are being faced at present.

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