Post Brexit HGV driver shortage?

The UK leaving the EU in Brexit could cause a driver shortage, warned Pall-Ex’s Group international Dr Anand Assi.

“Domestic and international transport operations rely on a supply of good quality labour and any shortfall on this already-stretched resource could severely impact the supply chain,” said Dr Assi.

“If restrictions are placed on the free movement of people into the UK, haulage firms could see the pool of potential drivers diminish further, particularly as many are from the east of Europe. This comes at a time when demand for road transport services has never been higher, largely thanks to online retail.”

Dr Assi said that that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit should be a “wake-up call” to the industry to step up its recruitment tactics.

“At the moment nobody goes to school wanting to be a driver,” continued Dr Assi on the Brexit issue, “it’s not seen as a desirable profession and there’s a perception that there is no progression, but there should be. We need to work out what motivates people and create role models to which people can aspire, showing them that this is a credible career option. The sector as a whole needs wider promotion from further education institutions, businesses and the government.”

Dr Assi – who was speaking at the recent Transport Logistic show in Munich – also flagged up the issue of reduced-sized shipments due to the changing nature of e-commerce as well as the Brexit effect.

“In our European network, the average shipment size continues to fall from approximately two to three pallets per drop to around one-and-a-half,” Dr Assi explained.

“The trend, driven by the growing business-to-consumer (B2C) market, can be attributed to the fact that goods now spend less time in storage due to cost. Many retailers want smaller and more regular consignments, while customers are willing to pay for premium next-day delivery rather than use an economy service and wait two or three days.

“In some shops, especially those lacking in storage facilities, goods are sold the minute they touch the floor. This boosts cash flow, which then benefits those logistics firms agile enough to meet the demand.”  
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