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Impact On Shipping: UK Haulage Update

03/09/2021

Consternation among forwarders and retailers is increasing as more and more hauliers apply “driver retention surcharges” amid the UK’s worsening haulage crisis. Several companies have complained about a shortage of lorry drivers, which has created shortages of some products. But a combination of Covid, Brexit and other factors, means there aren't enough drivers to meet demand. There is now a shortage of more than 100,000 drivers in the UK, out of a pre-pandemic total of about 600,000, a Road Haulage Association survey of its members estimates. That number included tens of thousands of drivers from EU member states who were living and working in the UK. But things have got worse, and there are now warnings from companies and hauliers that they can no longer guarantee all pick-ups and deliveries. In response to this, the industry has seen haulage firms increase rates by roughly £50 a load, citing heightened competition for drivers with further increases expected. The Department for Transport (DfT) yesterday sent a letter from secretary of state Grant Shapps to the logistics industry, outlining new measures to tackle the driver shortage crisis, which the Road Haulage Association claims has now reached 100,000. The new measures largely focus on increasing the numbers of new HGV licences issued by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) from around 1,500 passes a week to 2,000. Although the road transport industry says new UK government proposals to tackle the driver shortage crisis will not provide any immediate relief.

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