A Closer Look At The HGV Driver Shortage

The shortage of HGV drivers is now at a critical point and there are many theories around the cause of this problem. Exclusive data on this has been found by the Grocer on exactly what is causing this to happen.

Essentially, small issues in the supply chain have grown significantly larger. There was once a less serious shortage of HGV drivers that was a long term problem among logistics and haulage professionals. Now, it is a very large and urgent issue. It is negatively impacting all types and sizes of businesses and causing a shortage of food available on supermarket shelves throughout the country.

Each affected party has their own causes and possible solutions, there isn’t enough evidence to help support particular claims. This has caused a growing problem between camps such as the government and industry.

With The Grocer’s exclusive data, the whole story is now being able to be told along with the true causes of the driver shortage along with potential solutions out of this problem.

This is not anything new in Britain and it existed long before Brexit and Covid. In these times, the UK already had a shortage of about 76,000 drivers.

As demand for these drivers grew over the years, the workforce was stretched significantly. The number of drivers according to ONS remained at about 300,000 drivers. Growth only occurred among EU drivers where there were 10,000 drivers in 2010 and this grew to 45,000 drivers in 2017. If you have been a victim of redundancy during the Covid period and have HGV training then you may want to consider this going forward.

This shows that EU drivers are becoming more important and helping to deal with the higher demand. However, relying on overseas labour is a bad idea and a point of great concern. The MPs spoke heavily in 2016 about lowering dependency on foreign drivers since the responsibility is in the industry.

Unfortunately, this problem came to a peak due to the pandemic where thousands of drivers left the UK workforce. According to data from ONS, the number of HGV drivers reduced from 304,000 in the first quarter of 2020 to 235,000 drivers in the second quarter of 2021. This means that 69,000 drivers were lost in this period. According to Logistics UK, there is a current shortage of 90,000 drivers.

Exactly where have all these drivers disappeared to? How can we encourage them to return?

In the logistics and food industry, the shortage is mainly due to this significant loss in drivers. There was a letter written by more than 20 businesses and trade bodies that were sent to the PM, Boris Johnson to do something about the driver crisis based on the 5 main causes of this crisis.