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Haulage Association Claims Driver Shortage Could Increase Grocery Prices

The organisation that represents the freight and haulage equipment industry published statistics that suggest that 16,000 fewer lorry drivers are currently working in the UK compared to the start of 2021.

The information, published by the Road Haulage Association and featured on BBC’s Newsnight, also found that the UK’s haulage industry has at least 6000 vacancies at all levels of the industry.

In the largest 40 road haulage firms in Britain, there are 3564 vacancies, which averages out to 91 vacancies for every haulier.

For small and medium-sized freight companies, the average is 4 vacancies per haulier and at least 2573 vacancies. However, due to the relatively small size of fleets, this can have a major impact on how much can be transported.

As well as this, 30,000 HGV driver examinations were either cancelled or postponed in 2020. As well as this, due to the end of the transition period, 15,000 EU lorry drivers have returned to mainland Europe.

Other drivers have left the profession, and the reduction in safe truck stops, testing and customs requirements for international freight are other related issues that have affected driver recruitment.

This has caused disruption to supply chains and logistics across the UK, which was initially less apparent due to a general reduction in haulage demand in 2020 as a result of the current circumstances.

With restrictions easing, more people being vaccinated and increased demand for haulage, the shortage of drivers has exacerbated this disruption.

The RHA recently published a 12 point plan, which focused on enabling drivers from other countries to receive seasonal visas, establish a scheme to bring back retired HGV drivers and incentivise driver training and apprenticeships.

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