The driver shortage is increasingly impacting the container transport industry, which is sometimes resulting in import containers incurring storage and/or demurrage charges as containers cannot always be collected in time.

The coronavirus pandemic, and a return of foreign nationals post Brexit, has led to an accelerated decline in driver numbers over recent months. The number of HGV drivers were already dropping due to an ageing workforce and a lack of incentives for younger drivers to enter the industry. This been exasperated further by more stringent test requirements and backlogs in test bookings of six months or more.

It is believed that the HGV driver shortfall pre-Covid was 60,000 in the UK, which is now reported to be over 100,000.

Last month, the RHA (Road Haulage Association) wrote to prime minister Boris Johnson outlining the issues this was causing. The letter requested temporary worker visas for HGV drivers and for an urgent multi-department task force to be set up to work with the transport industry on these issues. We understand that the government are aware of the issues and have now temporarily extended drivers hours, which many in the industry feel falls way short of a practical solution.

Container transport costs have risen this month, with many hauliers increasing prices or applying a ‘driver retention surcharge’ – on average this seems to be around £75.00 per import container delivery and £25.00 per export container delivery – and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find transport options.

At Westbound Logistics we pride ourselves in offering personalised and tailored logistics solutions. To find out more please call 01375 800800 oemail