Driver shortages will ‘hit the pockets’ of UK residents, says FSDF

The Food Storage and Distribution Federation has backed the House of Commons Transport Select Committee’s report warning of the dangers of the driver shortages and the insufficiency of current measures in place to deal with it, which was published at the end of July.

Chris Sturman, CEO of the FSDF, said: “A united approach is required in order to ensure the government and the public understands the very real risks the country faces in light of this crisis. The publication of this report demonstrates the government’s intentions to formally recognise the issues, listen to what the industry has to say and work with us in order to find a solution.

“The efforts of the transport industry to date have been inadequate in structuring an attractive employment proposition in order to attract new drivers into the industry. As a result, there has been little change in the diversity of drivers and the image of the profession is still white, male and middle-aged. 

“Unless there is immediate action, the impact of driver shortages will start to hit the pockets of the people of Great Britain. The escalating driver shortage issue is likely to lead to increases in wage costs, which should in reality increase transport costs, as both account and logistics service supply vehicle operators pull out all the stops to recruit, train and retain drivers. These additional costs are not likely to be able to be countered by higher productivity and consequently will have to be passed down the supply chain and will ultimately be covered by the consumer whether buying products in the retail sector, but also in wholesale and foodservice, with restaurants, caterers, pubs and clubs being affected. The cost of a night out may rise considerably!

“The FSDF fully endorses the call from the Transport Select committee for the government and transport operators across UK industry to come together and review the entire employment offer to new recruits, including apprenticeships and training schemes, as well as demonstrating clear career opportunities with good pay and job security. We now need to encourage the insurance market to review minimum age stipulations to ensure employers can capture and nurture young people at the very start of their working lives. ”