According to a poll conducted by Logistics UK, 96% of UK logistics companies are having difficulty finding HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) drivers. In Logistics UK's newest Performance Tracker for September 2021, the serious shortage of HGV drivers in the UK is emphasised. It also suggests a broader skills shortage, not only among HGV drivers, with more than 13% of businesses having severe to very severe difficulties employing warehouse personnel in September 2020, compared to September 2021. 24.5% of respondents also report severe or very severe problems recruiting van drivers; zero respondents reported having such significant difficulties in September.

Update on bus drivers:

According to a union, bus drivers are leaving their employment "in droves" for better-paying HGV professions, leaving some operators with no choice but to cease services. According to the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT), there are currently over 4,000 bus and coach driver jobs across the country.

The Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT), which puts the number of vacancies across the country at over 4,000 says operators have recruitment plans in place and they are talking to government and its agencies to ensure that the recruitment and training process is as streamlined and efficient as possible.

The DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) has increased the number of bus, coach and HGV examinations offered each year by 50,000, and the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) has reduced the time it takes to produce provisional bus driver's licenses to roughly five days.

Update on bin lorry drivers:

Households are being warned of a "Christmas catastrophe" in rubbish collections as drivers leave their employment to work for supermarkets and food hauliers, where they may earn more money.

Bin lorry drivers are being offered salary packages of up to £40,000 per year to convert to food-related occupations. Last week, a Lancashire council announced that it had lost nearly half of its drivers in the previous three months.

Some collections have already been suspended or delayed in councils from Devon to London to Peterborough. In locations where there are staff shortages, there have also been concerns about overflowing dumpsters and missing rounds. Bin lorry drivers who make around £25,000 a year can increase their earnings by more than 60% by working for supermarkets, food hauliers or internet retailers.

According to Jacob Hayler, executive director of the Environmental Services Association, the trade organisation representing the UK's waste management industry, waste contractors have a 15% vacancy rate for driving jobs. To avoid a "Christmas disaster," he wants the government to add HGV drivers to the list of shortage vocations and increase the number of lorry driving examinations. The UK is short almost 100,000 HGV drivers, causing disruptions in collections that will only become worse as Christmas approaches, when waste volumes generally climb by 30% according to Hayler. Bin services were disrupted in more than half of the councils that replied in England and Wales, according to the latest findings from the Local Government Association workforce survey.

Devon council authorities have warned that vacancy rates for bin lorry drivers might be as high as 20%. Teignbridge council's deputy leader, Alistair Dewhirst, claimed the council has 11 vacancies in its team of 52 garbage collection drivers and that authorities were competing for drivers with supermarkets and their suppliers.

Garden waste services have been suspended in Devon, Oxfordshire, Surrey and Cambridgeshire. Last Monday, Haringey Council in north London announced that rubbish collection could be delayed for up to 72 hours "due to the effects national HGV driver shortages has on operations."

Residents in Croydon, south London, have been informed of the "serious" impact on rubbish collection services due to driver shortages, with refuse teams promising to "come to you as quickly as possible."

Potential solutions:

The Chancellor has promised new funding and lower levies:

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced fresh funds to improve lorry parking facilities and promised to lower fees paid by haulage companies on Wednesday, but the logistics industry said none of the initiatives would alleviate the country's supply chain issue, which is being driven by labour shortages.

The majority of global energy challenges and supply chain impediments, according to the chancellor, are outside the UK's control, but when the government can alleviate these constraints, it will do so.

The Treasury maintained the fuel duty freeze in the Budget, as well as the suspension of the heavy-goods vehicle road user charge and the freezing of vehicle excise duty until 2023.

The Transportation Committee will look into potential challenges to the road freight supply chain:

The Transport Committee will look into the urgent difficulties to the UK's road freight supply chain's successful operation. This new investigation, which was launched on Wednesday, will look into the performance of the road freight system as well as the government's policy in this area. Freight has been affected as a result of the pandemic's impact and the disruption of global supply networks caused by new EU rules.

The scarcity of HGV drivers has been a major issue, causing the Department of Transport to implement 25 different steps to recruit more drivers; the Department has stated that addressing the shortage is a key priority.

With all these being highlighted, what do you believe are solutions for the challenge in recruiting HGV drivers?

Resources:

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/oct/23/christmas-bin-collections-in-uk-at-risk-as-lorry-drivers-quit https://news.sky.com/story/theyre-leaving-in-droves-uk-faces-bus-driver-shortage-as-hgv-industry-offers-better-pay-12442971 https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/hgv-jobs-bus-driver-shortages-b1944363.html https://www.just-auto.com/news/most-british-businesses-struggling-for-hgv-drivers-logistics-uk/ https://www.politics.co.uk/news-in-brief/transport-committee-will-investigate-threats-to-road-freight-supply-chain/ https://www.ft.com/content/2cd02b14-9ce1-4835-8f3d-666a9174c020