Monday, October 20, 2014

Road Haulage Industry Faces Crisis as Freight Association Bemoans HGV Driver Shortfall

CPC Requirement Has Added to Problem says BIFA
Shipping News Feature

UK – In a piece earlier this month we mentioned the fact that the average age of an HGV driver in Britain had risen to fifty three, and, according to most informed sources, there is a paucity of younger people willing to enter the profession which could spell problems for the entire road haulage industry in coming years. Now the British International Freight Association (BIFA) has pointed out that the threat to deliveries and collections may be much more immediate than that.

BIFA says that whilst its members 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. The problem has been magnified with the mandatory imposition in September of compulsory Certificates of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification for drivers, with many older professionals simply choosing to retire rather than face the 35 hours in the classroom now required. 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.”