UK logistics sector lacks 90,000 drivers
Brexit and the ongoing pandemic has hardly hit the British logistics sector. Among other things, this resulted in a lack of 90,000 drivers. Logistics UK, an umbrella association, has proposed to implement temporary visas for foreign drivers and stimulate apprenticeship for new drivers on the island.
The shortage of lorry drivers is not a novelty for the UK logistics sector. However, this is becoming more and more tangible due to Brexit. “Logistics has relied on EU drivers for many years, and their loss at the start of the year as a result of Brexit has hit the sector hard,” noted Alex Veitch, general manager of public policy at Logistics UK. The trade association, which he represents, has estimated the lack of drivers at around 90,000 motorists.
The umbrella organisation of the UK logistics sector proposed two possible solutions to this problem. First, it called the government for easing the visa issuance for foreign drivers by introducing temporary documents. “The government has already done this for agricultural workers through the Seasonal Worker Scheme, so the precedent has been set: and what is the point of allowing people in to pick the food, if it cannot be transported anywhere due to a lack of available staff?” added Alex Veitch.
Another solution is related to supporting the local workforce. Meanwhile, it requires much more time, up to nine months, to train new drivers. “Drivers is launching in August and will take time to have an impact, and the driver test backlog is unlikely to be cleared till the New Year,” explained the general manager of Logistics UK. The hauling companies could train new drivers themselves but this needs dedicated financial support from the government. ” Many businesses in our sector experienced severe financial hardship as a result of the economic shutdowns at the height of the pandemic, and with many organisations still on the road to recovery, there is no spare cash to fund the wage bill of a new employee,” summed Alex Veitch from Logistics UK.