FTA warns on driver shortage

Black Friday – Sofa Sunday –  Cyber Monday; recognised as the biggest shopping days of the year and when logistics operators will be put under pressure to deliver the goods  – which won’t be helped this Christmas because of the growing problem of driver shortage.

sleigh copyChristmas shopping starts in earnest this week beginning with ‘Black Friday’ – the American shopping extravaganza which has made its way to the UK.  This year, more than ever, Britain will be swamped with discounts online and in the High Street. Almost one in four purchases are expected to be made online as shoppers spend £1.7bn a day in the run-up to Christmas and all have to delivered to the customer on time for the big day.

But the Freight Transport Association (FTA) is warning that the problem of driver shortage is a long term issue and not just one that is going to affect the festive season.

“A driver is for life not just for Christmas” is the message from logistics operators who have taken part in an FTA survey with 94% of participants saying that they see driver shortage as a real concern to the freight industry.

Sally Gilson, FTA Skills Policy Manager stated:

“With just a month to go until Christmas day – it is clear that the festive season is at the forefront of our minds – but driver shortage is not just a seasonal issue but a long- term problem.  FTA has long voiced its worries regarding driver shortage and is calling on the government to support the freight industry with funding in order to encourage new drivers to enrol in the logistics industry.”

The FTA survey results illustrate that there is no ‘north-south divide’ when it comes to a lack of drivers as the delegates attending the current FTA Transport Manager Conference series 2014 at venues around the country including Brands Hatch, Durham, Warrington, Leeds, Taunton, Huntingdon, Chepstow, Dunblane, Sheffield and Slough were joined in their response. The Association’s survey also confirmed that driver shortage is not only a concern on the run-up to Christmas but a potential problem in the longer term.

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