Shortage of drivers could affect Christmas deliveries, warns RHA

Shortage of drivers could affect Christmas deliveries, warns RHA

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has issued a stark warning that the UK’s road haulage industry is now facing a massive shortage of drivers and, unless urgent action is taken, shoppers could be facing empty shelves at Christmas and beyond!

Commenting on an ongoing situation that’s becoming increasingly acute, the new RHA Chief Executive, Richard Burnett, said: “We are pressing hard for the Treasury to make funding available so that would-be lorry drivers can take the vocational driving and related tests that they so desperately need in order to pass and legally drive a heavy goods vehicle.

“The economy relies massively on an effective logistics industry.  If that efficiency is to be maintained, it is vital that funding be made available now.  It should be paid directly to those operating in the haulage and logistics industry and be nationally available.  We also propose that it be time-limited.  We know that some funding is available – but right now it is inaccessible.

“Such a scheme would ensure that UK growth and wealth creation is not impeded by a serious shortage of lorry drivers.  We consider this to be the most effective and appropriate solution in the short term to an issue that will challenge the industry far beyond the coming weeks running up to Christmas.”

“Ours is an industry with an ageing workforce.  With 45,000 HGV drivers due to retire in the next two years, and more set to leave for medical reasons or because they have jobs elsewhere, it’s clear that unless Government recognises and addresses this critical issue, the economic growth will slow down dramatically.”

Mr Burnett continued: “Ours is an industry that has ridden the financial storm – 2013 saw the first increase in HGV numbers on UK roads since 2007.  Despite this increase, we estimate that we are currently 40,000 drivers short.  Do the maths – there are simply not enough drivers to keep the economy moving.

“The RHA has very strong support for this position from members with transport companies of all sizes – small, medium and very large.”