‘Driver shortages are a big problem that will affect everyone’s pocket’ says the FSDF
Following the publication of the House Of Commons Transport Select Committee’s report which warns that current recruitment and training measures are falling short and won’t prevent the impending shortfall of goods vehicle drivers in the road haulage industry, Chris Sturman, CEO of the Food Storage and Distribution Federation explains the impact of driver shortages across the food and drink supply chain.
“The FSDF is delighted to have been able to have had our input to the review and hearings which have contributed to the recent report issued by the Government’s Transport Committee.
“The shortage of full time and agency drivers in the United Kingdom has been discussed at length by Government, the media and my colleagues from other organisations, but 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. I agree with Louise Ellman MP, Chair of the Transport Committee’s call for a cohesive, measureable plan that focuses on the attraction, recruitment and retention of new drivers from a diverse range of backgrounds in order to prevent the impending shortage.
“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 in transport costs, as both own 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 counter 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. The recently confirmed Apprenticeship Trailblazer programme, with funding of training and licensing of new driver talent into the logistics sector is a very welcome and positive step forward. 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. ”