For three years running in the Paragon Software Systems' annual UK customer survey, driver shortage features very highly in the concerns of Logistics Companies.
"The lack of drivers and other skilled workers remains the biggest challenge facing the industry for the third year running according to over half of the survey's respondents (55%). This represents a 20% increase when compared to last year's results (46%) and a significant 62% rise from 2017 (34%), suggesting a growing concern amongst businesses within the marketplace."
This has been echoed in the Freight Transport Association's (FTA) 2018-19's Van Excellence report, highlighting an upcoming epidemic of a shortage of van drivers and couriers, which will affect business operations across the UK over next few years if it's not solved.
The FTA suggests there is a lack of people filling the void left by those leaving the industry. Sadly, not enough young people are considering logistics and especially HGV driving as a career option. There are several reasons for this, including: the cost of licence acquisition; lack of understanding of the sector; poor sector image; working hours; and, lack of quality driver facilities.
The International Road Transport Union (IRU) suggests the following solutions may help improve the situation:
Hopefully some of these suggestions will be implemented, and there will be a positive change in the driver shortage shortly.
Maybe the Insurance industry will be able to play its part. There is a standard across the fleet insurance market of a minimum 25 years-of-age and 2-years experience. Some Insurers do offer more relaxed driver warranties this but it is not the norm.
Would an increase in internal training and less reliance on agency drivers as well as engagement with vehicle technology encourage underwriters to relax their usual driver experience stance?