Road freight’s economic importance is now widely recognised. The combination of a pandemic, a major tax change and Brexit has perhaps made people appreciate the role of the truck driver more than ever. One of the key themes set out in SMMT’s Full Throttle: Driving UK Automotive Competitiveness report published this week is the need to upskill and grow the wider industry talent pool. For the freight and logistics sector, this means jobs in both manufacturing and driving.
Although the problem of driver shortages is a long standing one, this trifecta of factors coming together at the same time has resulted in a driver exodus. Current estimates put this shortage at 65,000 – or, for those still singing Three Lions with sky-high expectations after Tuesday’s result, approximately the expected capacity of Wembley Stadium for the Euro 2020 final. The situation is so serious, supermarkets are warning of empty shelves over the next few months.
Fixing this is going to take time and the whole industry needs to get involved to transform the sector together. As well as addressing the legacy issues, we need to find ways of attracting new entrants to a sector who can offer new ideas and perspectives. The CV sector needs the best to keep the country moving, regardless of background, age, gender or ethnicity.