It has been reported in Motor Transport magazine that Logistics companies are indicating that the HGV driver shortage crisis may have turned a corner this month. However some cautioned that, unless wage rises are maintained and facilities improved, the easing of the crisis could be short lived.
In October, BBC News Reality Check reported that: “A Road Haulage Association (RHA) survey of its members estimates there is now a shortage of more than 100,000 qualified drivers in the UK.”
The Reality Check Team went on to say: “Covid is certainly part of the problem. As travel became increasingly restricted last year, and large parts of the economy shut down, many European drivers went home. And haulage companies say very few have returned.
“The pandemic also created a large backlog in HGV driver tests, so it has been impossible to get enough new drivers up and running.”
Improving the journey experience
Truckstop facilities for HGV drivers are often described as being pretty basic, which is hardly an incentive for those considering a career that can involve long-haul journeys.
So we can be encouraged by this tweet on Monday 29th November from Rod McKenzie of the RHA (Road Haulage Association):
“Good to see the new truckstop at Ashford being launched on Friday - but our industry needs more if this sets the standard @RHANews #hgvdrivershortage”
The Ashford International Truckstop offers a range of attractive facilities including a 24/7 good food restaurant, a lounge and TV area, a fitness gym, showers, laundry facilities and more besides. Let us hope this is the start of improved facilities for HGV drivers.
HGV drivers have been key workers during the pandemic crisis and their contribution to maintaining services for businesses and consumers has been exceptional. They have been responsible for keeping products on the supermarket shelves and delivering vital equipment to hospitals.
As the worst effects of Covid-19 hopefully recede over the coming months, their contribution should not be forgotten or belittled. They have been a vital support for the economy and their leading role in logistics will aid recovery and contribute to national prosperity. Being an HGV driver is a job well worth doing!