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UK domestic haulage market pressures increase

Our recent UK Haulage advisory highlighted the reasons behind the well-publicised HGV driver shortage, which the sector continues to struggle with as it faces:

  • IR35 legislation reducing the availability of agency drivers
  • Reduced vehicles from the continent performing cabotage
  • Shortage of new vehicles and parts
  • Absence of European drivers due to Covid and Brexit
  • Bottleneck at HGV test centres causing significant delays in training new drivers

The impact has been felt industry-wide and is far-reaching as the significantly reduced capacity affects final-mile delivery of products to the end consumer:

  • Major delays continue on the pallet networks with all timed deliveries being withdrawn while economy services and longer-lead deliveries have become the norm
  • The lack of supply to meet demand has pushed up singular movement costs and driver salaries
  • While the effects had initially been felt mainly across palletised freight in the haulage industry, the container haulage industry is now being hit as well

As a result, cost increases between 5-10% have already been implemented across the pallet, full trailer load and container haulage market with a potential cost increase of the final end product as a result to be expected.

While the UK government has announced its intentions to temporarily extend drivers’ hours to counter the impact of the driver shortage, key concerns have been raised by hauliers in response:

  • Health and Safety: Adding longer hours to an already pressurised, highly time-sensitive environment where key workers such as drivers work shifts of significant length will likely cause accidents with far-reaching impact on communities
  • Rather than improving driving conditions to attract and retain more into the industry and tackle diversity in recruitment, this would have the opposite effect 

Instead, calls for the actions outlined below and in previous advisories have become increasingly louder:

  • For the government to help improve driving conditions and work with hauliers on attracting and retaining a diverse workforce
  • To remove the testing bottleneck by possibly returning to a one-test-system used previously
  • To add LGV drivers on the skilled workers list to encourage eligible drivers back to the UK who may have left following the implementation of Brexit regulations.

Source: Motor Transport

The below visualises the price increase vs respective capacity decrease up until May 2021, providing comparable numbers to the same months in 2020, and the significant changes month by month, which have grown exponentially since May.

Courtesy of Transporeon

At Woodland Group, we continue to grow our own driver training to DCPC standards, restructure driver opportunities and run national recruitment campaigns to deliver our clients’ supply chains safely and on time. 

For more information, please contact us here. 
If you'd like to speak to us about joining our Woodland teams on the roads, please contact us here. 

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