- 6 September 2021
- Transport / Logistics Services
Varamis Rail is one of a number of UK rail freight companies that say they could help with the HGV driver shortage by laying on more rail freight services. This would reduce the amount of HGVs on the road and use existing spare capacity on the UK rail network to meet the demand for middle-mile delivery.
“The truck driver shortage is nothing new to the UK”, says Phil Read of Varamis Rail, one of a cohort of companies seeking to shake up the logistics market in the UK. “It has been an issue for a generation, and this is really a traffic jam everyone in the logistics chain has seen coming.” Read has been working on a long-distance, high-speed, rail-based alternative to the current use of HGVs on motorways.
Read points out that far more cargo can be moved more quickly with far less labour by rail freight. “Even before Brexit, the reliance on overseas drivers was a known stop-gap that would not shore up the sector in the long term”, he says. “The generational drift away from the industry, meaning older drivers have been retiring in far greater numbers than new recruits, has left an ever-widening gap between supply and existing demand.”
“Varamis Rail is among the companies that see the answer in a complete change of attitude, a logistical paradigm shift to long-haul by rail for light goods. The concept of trunk operations by rail, between efficient and conveniently sited hubs makes perfect sense for the economy”. Read also points out that this wouldn’t cost existing jobs in the road haulage industry as it could better meet existing demand while trains take the strain of the excess capacity.