Despite Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to cause disruption, there are other questions that have yet to be answered as it relates to the haulage industry. Here we outline the biggest issues facing it in the coming year.
It would be remiss of us not to start by exploring how the ongoing crisis in Ukraine will affect the haulage industry. Many are reporting that this could add to the already massive shortage of HGV drivers in the country. The situation is not helped by the fact that a number of Ukrainian drivers working in Europe and the UK are returning to Ukraine to fight the Russian invasion.
While there seems to be a reduction in pressures placed on the supply chain from last autumn, the loss of Ukrainian drivers could exacerbate any underlying issues since these people are an essential part of the EU’s supply chain. However, those within the industry should take comfort in knowing that the country has resources put in place in the event that the supply chain is disrupted.
Parking facilities and rest areas
Media reporting from last year has seen a substantial uptake in public recognition that HGV drivers need proper and professional facilities. While Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced £50 million in Treasury funds will be put towards improving the UK’s HGV rest stops and parking areas, truckers are looking for solid evidence that the money will actually make a difference on the ground level.
Local councils have authority regarding decisions on planning permission for driver facilities, so these plans may not be executed simply. Objections normally arise from considerable complaints received from residents in the area who do not want added HGV traffic stopping them from receiving same-day deliveries. So the solution to the problem may take more than money being thrown at it. Further driver shortages could be experienced if changes are not implemented soon.
EU goods entering the UK are now undergoing veterinary and customs checks, but just how much disruption this is going to cause has yet to be seen. Many were expecting similar disruption to that seen in 2002, but this is unlikely to be the case. However, it might take some time for drivers to adjust to the fresh requirements.
Phytosanitary goods which have been transported from the UK to the EU, for example, have undergone substantial checks, with the movement of these goods being very disruptive to the supply chain because of those checks. The UK government wants to minimise disruption as much as it possibly can, so while the checks may have some form of impact, they are unlikely to cause major disruption.
Newly appointed drivers – will they play the long game?
Driver shortages in the country has reportedly seen a drop, from 100,000 originally to now 85,000, following an intense push from the government to get drivers tested and trained in record time. An increase in wages and free training has converted some of the UK’s citizens, particularly bus drivers.
Despite this, there are issues still prevalent within the industry that threaten the long-term employment of these newly appointed drivers. Facilities are in short supply and remain in poor condition, with regional distribution centres facing long waiting times that continue to frustrate drivers. Combining these with a general lack of respect from members of the public and long working hours may see some drivers opt out – but this is yet to be seen.
DC Merrett are an independent family-run business who care about the finer details. This includes our responsibility as a team that transports and arranges the disposal of effluent products. To enable us to offer our services, we are registered as waste carriers and hold a waste carrier license that is issued by the Environment Agency.
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