Driver shortage more than just a seasonal issue, warns FTA

Driver shortage more than just a seasonal issue, warns FTA

With logistics operators being put under pressure to deliver the goods in time for Christmas the situation is not being helped by the growing problem of driver shortage.

This year, more than ever, Britain will be swamped with discounts online and in the high street.  Almost one in four purchases are expected to be made online as shoppers spend £1.7 billion per day in the run-up to Christmas, and all have to delivered to the customer on time for the big day.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is warning that the problem of driver shortage is a long term issue and not just one that is going to affect the festive season.

And, the clear message from logistics operators who have taken part in an FTA survey is that a driver is for life, not just for Christmas, with 94% of participants saying that they see driver shortage as a real concern to the freight industry.

Sally Gilson, FTA Skills Policy Manager stated: “It is clear that the festive season is at the forefront of our minds – but driver shortage is not just a seasonal issue but a long-term problem.  FTA has long voiced its worries regarding driver shortage and is calling on the government to support the freight industry with funding in order to encourage new drivers to enrol in the logistics industry.”

The FTA survey results illustrate that there is no ‘north-south divide’ when it comes to a lack of drivers and back up the view of the delegates attending the FTA Transport Manager Conference series 2014.  The Association’s survey also confirmed that driver shortage is not only a concern on the run-up to Christmas but a potential problem in the longer term.

Delegates attending the FTA Transport Manager Conference series were asked to answer a ‘snap-shot’ survey relating to their own freight operations and were asked: On a scale of 1-5 how bad is the driver shortage?

The findings revealed:

  • 67% of respondents in Durham said that driver shortage is ‘very bad – and that it will be a major issue’
  • 60% delegates in Warrington replied that ‘it is bad and could impact Christmas deliveries’
  • 57% of attendees at the Dunblane event said that it is ‘a potential problem in the longer term’

FTA is once again highlighting the serious issue of delivering the goods in time for Christmas and is claiming that the freight industry is in need of drivers to meet the demand at the busiest time of the year for many businesses.  In addition the Association estimates that the number of drivers that will need to be recruited over the next few years exceeds 45,000.