Driver shortage could impede deliveries in the lead up to Christmas peak

The trade association that represents companies responsible for handling much of the UK’s visible trade is warning that a severe shortage of HGV drivers could wreak havoc with deliveries in the lead up to the Christmas peak.

Whilst members of the British International Freight Association (BIFA) tend to be truck hirers, rather than operators, they report that the difficulties being caused by the shortage of HGV drivers is being compounded by an earlier-then-expected peak season with higher-than-forecast volumes of container and trailer imports.

BIFA also says that implementation of new HGV driver regulations in early September – the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) – has also contributed to a driver shortage already present within the logistics and distribution sector, and caused by a lack of new entrants.

BIFA Director General, Robert Keen says: “Our members’ freight forwarding services deliver container and trailer imports from ports to distribution centres across the UK. Those members report significantly increased waiting times for an available vehicle, much higher costs from haulage companies and surcharges from some shipping lines.

“New HGV drivers are urgently required in the UK logistics business to help alleviate the problems caused by the current shortage, which is leading to significant pressures on logistics costs.

“BIFA has noted that the growing problem of UK HGV driver shortages has been taken up by an MP, former haulier Andrew Bridgen, and shares his opinion that there needs to be some sort of incentivisation to encourage more individuals to train to become HGV drivers.

“This issue is similar to the recent passport crisis – not how many have been processed, but what the shortfall is and what can be done to alleviate that shortfall.”