Due to it being plastered all over the media, the HGV driver shortage has been almost impossible to ignore for many pallet delivery services and pallet carriers, including PalletOnline.
But what really caused it and what can be done to ensure it doesn’t happen again?
What is the HGV driver shortage?
The HGV driver shortage was, and still is, an issue that has caused havoc for many months.
The shortage was most prominent during the COVID-19 pandemic which caused a wave of scarceness on supermarket shelves, leading to panic buying which worsened the problem even more.
It’s not just the logistics industry that was affected, though. The rise of food and fuel costs also sky-rocketed as HGV drivers stepped out of their cabs and went on hiatus.
But what actually caused the shortage?
Why did it happen?
The blame was placed mainly on both Brexit and COVID-19, however, it’s more complicated than it may seem.
Around 70,000 drivers had left their roles since the COVID-19 pandemic began, but around 18% of them were EU citizens, which suggests that both the pandemic and Brexit were equally contributing factors.
However, reports suggest that the shortage started long before Brexit or COVID were even a thing.
Recent statistics show that the shortage is stabilising, however, it is still present, and we can still see the effects in our supermarkets today.
What can be done to lessen the load on the industry and pallet carriers?
The driver shortage may be around for a long while, but here are some things that can be done to reduce the impact:
1) Increase Job Satisfaction – many drivers leave their jobs because they are not happy with the quality of their job. This may range from long work hours to poor management. Higher job satisfaction will likely result in higher driver retention figures.
2) Higher Wages – similar to above, the average wage for an HGV driver is on the lower end of the spectrum, believe it or not. The antisocial hours, poor work-life balance and unhealthy lifestyle of a driver can take a toll on their mental and physical health, which should be compensated for in their wage.
3) Reduced Training Costs – currently, the cost of HGV driver training can be pricey, to say the least, with courses costing in the region of £1000-£2000. That’s a lot of disposable income many people don’t have!
What are the government doing?
During the midst of it all, the UK government stated they have taken action to reduce the impact of the shortage on haulage companies and pallet delivery service. These include the following:
1) Providing new HGV drivers with assistance and training
2) Increasing the capacity for HGV driver testing and streamlining the licencing process
3) Freezing the vehicle excise duty and driver levy until 2023
4) Investing £32.5 million in roadside facilities for HGV drivers, such as showers, toilets and eating areas.
5) Incentive payment of £3,000 to employers who employed an apprentice before 31 January 2022.
The full list can be found on the gov.uk website.
There’s no doubt the ongoing shortage has affected most of the population. Fortunately, it looks like the issue is stabilising, and we can hopefully return to a modicum of normality.
Even though this has served as a challenge, the logistics industry, and many pallet delivery services, are still thriving.
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