As the sector gears up for the busiest period of the year, a national shortage of lorry drivers could undermine deliveries.
That’s the warning issued by James Clifford of HGV Training.
According to Clifford, thousands of temporary drivers are needed for December, and with 75% of consumers expecting to do at least half of their shopping online, 2015 could be the year the HGV industry fails to cope.
“We see this every year, and every year the industry seems to scrape by, but with the number of online orders expected in the coming weeks, it may well be that 2015 is the year that some firms fall short. The phones in our recruitment service office have been ringing off the hook with businesses desperate not to find themselves caught out,” he said.
The road haulage sector is already in need of 60,000 new drivers to fill a mounting year-round shortage, but tens of thousands are needed for the Christmas period alone, with most major retailers and delivery companies looking to hire thousands of temporary staff. Clifford warned increased pressures have been caused by the combination of Black Friday/Cyber Monday and Christmas, and the introduction of a growing number of next-day nominated-slot and same-day services.
“The Christmas period opens a window onto the extent of the driver shortage facing the UK,” continues Clifford. “But the fact is that it’s no longer just December we have to consider, but November as well due to the import of Black Friday from the US which is expected to see £1bn in sales for the first time.”
“My advice to consumers who are planning to buy online is to do it as early as they can to avoid frustration and disappointment. I urge retailers who are looking to hire more temporary staff to start planning for this immediately.”