Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Freight and Road Haulage Interests Continuing Concern Over HGV and LGV Driver Shortage

Survey Shows Staff Problems Continue Whilst Transport Manager Training Courses Announced
Shipping News Feature
UK – The two organisations most responsible for looking after the interests of the British trucking community, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and the Road Haulage Association (RHA), both have something to say this week about the continuing shortage of lorry drivers, a reoccurring theme with the realities of Brexit drawing closer.

In the past few years the UK has become increasingly dependent on foreign drivers emanating from other EU countries, many of whom are choosing to return home amidst the uncertainties of their future status. Coupled with the anonymous image of an industry which it seems the logistics sector finds impossible to shake off, there are serious concerns about making up the shortfall as HGV, and indeed LGV drivers leave or retire.

The FTA has been active together with Santander Corporate Banking, which sponsors its Quarterly Transport Activity Surveys (QTAS), and July’s results confirm a trend, showing that the freight and logistics sector is still suffering a shortage of skilled drivers. The survey, which asked the opinions of 6,000 freight and logistics businesses in the FTA’s membership, showed that almost a third of respondents were experiencing long delays in recruiting HGV drivers. Christopher Snelling, Head of National and Regional Policy at the FTA, commented:

“At a time when British businesses are becoming increasingly reliant on an efficient supply chain, the lack of qualified drivers available to work could soon become cause for concern. And with just over 57% of respondents to QTAS also anticipating a shortage of HGV drivers moving into the second half of 2017, it is clear that the industry needs a recruitment boost to overcome the potential issues which this could cause in the long term to Britain’s ongoing profitability.”

More and more foreign operators are handling the UK’s international road freight but the FTA points out that the current figures showing overseas trade via UK based firms might be a reflection of the low levels of growth in the overall economy in the second quarter of the year. John Simkins, Head of Transport and Logistics, Santander UK, said:

“A shortage of skilled drivers has been a persistent challenge in the sector over recent years, and the results of this survey indicate that this is still an ongoing problem. However, it is encouraging to see that businesses from across the country are expecting strong growth in domestic activity in the coming months. Despite some T&L businesses putting their international expansion plans currently on hold, the T&L sector will continue to play a crucial role in the UK economy.”

The full report showed that respondents felt short sea, deep sea and air freight volumes are expected to grow on most trade routes in Q3 2017, much reliant on the fall in sterling as well as increased UK economic growth. The report can be downloaded from this link.

Meanwhile the RHA is also concerned by the lack of drivers, indeed the two organisations joined forces to lobby the minister responsible in 2015, but the organisation also believes it is essential to maintain the credentials of those controlling and administering the operators and therefore has announced its next set of transport manager CPC training courses, to be held in locations all over the country.

The RHA boasts that with 98%+ rating the training they receive as good or excellent, and over 60% of candidates passing the OCR examination (the national average is 48%), it is managing to ensure that attendees achieve not only excellent exam results, but also gain an extensive working knowledge of the responsibilities of a transport manager via the services of its team of highly-qualified trainers.

For examinations due to take place in October, RHA Training will be running courses in:

  • Newcastle on Tyne starting on Wednesday 20th September
  • Dagenham starting on Wednesday 20th September
  • Warrington starting on Thursday 9th November

The August to December prospectus can be viewed here or for more details link HERE or ring 01733 261456.