There has been an accelerated decline in HGV driver numbers recently due to both the pandemic and the return of foreign nationals post Brexit. The container transport industry is being impacted by this shortage, and containers can’t always be collected in time. In some cases, this has led to incurring storage and demurrage charges.
You might have seen in the news that the Government is taking action to ensure that the deliveries of food, sanitary and other essential goods aren’t affected by the driver shortage. They have done this by temporarily relaxing the HGV driving time regulations and by removing the controls which restrict the time and number of deliveries from delivery vehicles to supermarkets, food retailers, and distribution centres. These relaxations apply to food, sanitary and essential goods only.
Shipping & logistics company Westbound Logistics Services Ltd. says:
“The number of HGV drivers was already dropping due to an ageing workforce and a lack of incentives for younger drivers to enter the industry. This has been exasperated further by more stringent test requirements and backlogs in test bookings of six months or more
It is believed that the HGV driver shortfall pre-COVID was 60,000 in the UK, which is now reported to be over 100,000.”
The RHA (Road Haulage Association) have written to the prime minister. The letter requested temporary worker visas for HGV drivers and for an urgent multi-department task force to be set up to work with the transport industry on these issues.
Westbound Logistics Services Ltd. said:
“We understand that the government are aware of the problems and have now temporarily extended drivers hours, which many in the industry feel falls way short of a practical solution.”
Hauliers have increased prices, or in some cases, they are applying a ‘driver retention surcharge’, which seems to be £75.00 per import container delivery and £25.00 per export container delivery.
We will of course keep you updated on this situation. If you would like to provide any feedback or discuss how this has affected your business, please get in touch