Driver Shortage Delays Container Deliveries in the UK
The UK is facing a major logistical issue that will delay thousands of containers transporting goods for the Christmas market. The issue is Retirement.
There is a major shortage in drivers to deliver shipping containers, some shipping lines have had haulage fully booked for 2 weeks in advance and we are seeing some large hikes in haulage costs as a result.
A new European Union directive that requires drivers to obtain a training certificate (35 hours of training every 5 years) is being blamed as the root of the problem. According to the Freight Transport Association, 40% of lorry drivers are 50 or over, while just 1% are under the age of 25. With many of the older drivers opting to retire rather than put themselves through the training the number of drivers has dropped very quickly. Hauliers are also reporting that the cost of obtaining an HGV licence and the strict new EU rules are putting off many would-be drivers.
The directive has been described in the industry as an additional, unwanted burden on an already highly regulated business and has created a spike in driver demand. The general feeling is that the new directive has compounded the underlying lack of haulage in the container sector due to under investment in an industry known for its low profit margins.
Meanwhile, recent months have brought a surge in container volumes, the latest figures from container trades statistics show that in July, the number of containers imported from Asia to the UK increased by 13% on last year’s figures.
Anyone importing containers from China, India or anywhere else in Asia will be affected by this. Shippo are continually monitoring the situation very closely and strive to ensure our clients are not impacted by this difficult situation that appears may get worse before it gets better.