The well-documented shortage of UK based HGV drivers is estimated at around 70,000 and is forecast to get worse as demand for transport increases due to the end of lockdown, the return to normal of the hospitality sector and the Christmas peak season approaches.
Contractors are struggling to maintain services and some have already started declining work.
Reasons for the shortfall includes the exodus of EU drivers post-Brexit, changes to IR35 legislation and a backlog in driver testing.
The driver shortage is already driving costs, particularly for temporary drivers as companies compete for an increasingly scarce resource. Salaries are approaching £40k and, for temporary drivers are likely to go higher.
Several solutions are being considered including giving HGV drivers “Skilled Worker” status which could enable EU based drivers to work in the UK under a seasonal visa. Additionally, driver training is under review to make training & tests more affordable and accessible.
Whilst this is to be welcomed, companies are advised to consider how they can reduce demand for transport. This will not only keep costs down but also help the environment. Key questions to ask:
- Has a full efficiency review of the existing transport operation been undertaken with a view to improving productivity?
- Has the impact of increased driver costs been fully assessed against business margins? Is your service offering viable?
- Can your existing service offering, and lead times be adjusted?
- Are there any collaboration opportunities with suppliers, customers or even competitors?
- Is it feasible to increase the use of network logistics services?
- Can customer delivery constraints be adjusted to increase driver productivity?
If your business requires support in reviewing alternative transport solutions, then Davies & Robson would be delighted to help. Call us on 01327 349090