25 June 2021
In an effort to convince the Government that urgent action is needed to tackle the driver shortage problem, Logistics UK has urged Ministers to introduce a seasonal visa for European drivers of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).
Highlighting that more than 45,000 HGV driver tests are outstanding at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) due to the Covid-19 lockdowns, Logistics UK has argued that a scheme is needed to protect the nation’s supply chain while the Agency catches up with the backlog.
Alongside this backlog of drivers wishing to enter the logistics industry, Logistics UK’s chief executive, David Wells, has also pointed out that nearly 79,000 European logistics workers have returned to their home countries. This has left haulage firms struggling to recruit new drivers, a problem which will be made worse when drivers start taking their summer holidays.
DVSA estimates that it can undertake 118,000 HGV driver tests in the remainder of 2021, but it will take months to catch up on the existing backlog of outstanding examinations.
“The Government recently granted temporary visa status for agricultural workers to ensure that important crops are picked and made available for UK consumers,” Mr Wells said. “But without temporary visa status for the drivers to move this food to where it is needed, the supply chain will break down at the first hurdle.”
Logistics UK is also urging the Government to prioritise the implementation of funded training to open the industry up to as many people as possible, to counteract the recruitment issues the sector has faced for many years.
It is time, Mr Wells concluded, to attract a new generation of drivers and other employees to the sector as older personnel retire and leave the industry.
We have also reported other recent industry warnings about the impact of driver shortages: