IN AN era in which so many of choose to do our Christmas shopping online, the role of the lorry driver has never been so important.
However with demand at an unprecedented high, a lorry driver shortage is on the cards, with warnings that it could affect deliveries for Christmas.
In some areas hauliers have reported the problem was “very bad”, with 94 per cent of operators saying the shortage was a real concern, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) said.
The FTA cited warning from a recent conference in Leeds as an example of how the industry was facing a genuine long-term issue and one which was “not just for Christmas”.
Nationally the association estimating that the number of drivers that will need to be recruited over the next few years exceeds 45,000. The FTA said almost a quarter of all purchases are expected to be made online as shoppers spend £1.7 billion a day in the run-up to Christmas.
FTA skills policy manager Sally Gilson said: “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.
“We have long voiced our worries regarding driver shortage and are calling on the Government to support the freight industry with funding in order to encourage new drivers to enrol in the logistics industry It is clear from the FTA survey that the issue of driver shortage is one of genuine concern. This is the busiest time of the year for many businesses.
“It may appear that there are more ‘trucks on the road’ but they are simply trying to deliver the goods ordered. The simple fact is that this is a case of supply and demand, but the real problem is that there simply aren’t enough drivers to meet it.”