With so many lorries and operator vehicles on UK roads, one wouldn’t think there was a shortage of drivers in the haulage industry, however, driver shortages have been well documented and as we head into the peak shopping time of the year, there are concerns that Christmas deliveries may be compromised.

The figures speak for themselves as this year alone, it is now expected that there will be a demand for approximately 45,000-60,000 professional drivers to supply goods across the country. Companies now need to ensure their logistic operators are prepared to have enough manpower to be able to deliver on their promises, particularly as customer expectations are rising and next day delivery being expected almost as standard.

So where did this shortage of drivers come from?

HGV drivers are now required to carry out a compulsory test which, upon successful completion, will award them with a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). The new test takes 35 hours to complete and will cost the individual £500.

However, failure to complete the training will result in a £1000 penalty. It’s estimated that this alone has already motivated more than 20,000 drivers to quit or take early retirement. This figure has put pressure on the industry, as without enough HGV drivers, our retailers and other businesses could potentially have ‘empty shelves’ leaving customers short of vital supplies.

The issue looks set to get worse as recent research found the average age of a HGV driver is 53, much older than most industries. Only 2% of HGV drivers are under 25, while 13% are over 60 years old. The industry has asked for £150 million worth of training for thousands of drivers, urging the Government to act now before the shortage hits and affects the UK’s supply system.

As a compromise the Government has promised to review the speed at which driving and medical tests take place for HGV drivers and will consider how they can speed up this process to keep drivers on the road. Funding support for the training will also be looked into, however this is not guaranteed.

At Barnes Logistics we understand the difficulties the current employment market finds us in and for this reason we have recruited additional driving staff to help with the increased demands expected during the run up to Christmas.  HGV driving can be a rewarding and enjoyable career choice  with the right training and support.  The team at Barnes Logistics will be working flat out over the coming weeks and months to keep Christmas on track for all our customers.