The Freight Transport Association’s (FTA) recently published quarterly Transport Activity Survey (QTAS) stating that the issue of driver shortages remains the primary concern.
According to FTA, there is currently a national driver shortfall of around 35,000, and the average age of workers in the T&L sector is rising steadily as companies struggle to attract younger employees. The final outcome of the Brexit negotiations could further impact these estimates.
If Britain’s businesses are to take full advantage of new international trading opportunities in the coming years, they will depend heavily on the support of the UK’s transport and logistics (T&L) sector.
The survey, which asked the opinions of 6,000 freight and logistics businesses in the FTA’s membership, showed that almost a third of respondents were experiencing long delays in recruiting HGV drivers. Given the sector’s reliance on skilled HGV drivers from abroad and the ongoing uncertainty over workers’ status as the Brexit negotiations unfold, members are keen for clarification on what the situation will be once the UK exits the EU.
At a time when British businesses are becoming increasingly reliant on an efficient supply chain, the lack of qualified drivers available to work could soon become cause for concern, says Christopher Snelling, Head of National and Regional Policy at FTA. And with just over 57% of respondents to QTAS also anticipating a shortage of HGV drivers moving into the second half of 2017, it is clear that the industry needs a recruitment boost to overcome the potential issues which this could cause in the long term to Britain’s ongoing profitability.
FTA represents all modes of the UK’s freight and logistics sector on behalf of its 16,000 members. The UK remains a leader in logistics at a global level, ranked in the top ten countries in terms of logistics performance, and the sector contributes 11% of the UK’s non-financial business economy. In 2016, 2.54 million people were employed in logistics in the UK, approximately 8% of the UK’s workforce. FTA members operate over 220,000 goods vehicles (half the UK fleet), consign over 90 per cent of the freight moved by rail and 70 per cent of sea and air freight.
John Simkins, Head of Transport and Logistics, Santander UK, said, “A shortage of skilled drivers has been a persistent challenge in the sector over recent years, and the results of this survey indicate that this is still an ongoing problem. However, it is encouraging to see that businesses from across the country are expecting strong growth in domestic activity in the coming months. Despite some T&L businesses putting their international expansion plans currently on hold, the T&L sector will continue to play a crucial role in the UK economy.”
To read the full report please go to http://www.fta.co.uk/membership/member_information_services/transport_activity_survey.html and fill in a short form.
Source: UK Haulier / FTA.co.uk
This week the Government have announced that trials of driverless lorries will begin on our motorways at some time next year in a bit to cut congestion and omissions.
These lorries, which accelerate and brake at the same time, will travel in automated convoys of up to 3, being controlled by a driver in the lead vehicle. There will also be a driver in each of the cabs controlling the steering and ready to take control in the event of a problem.
However, according to the AA, these plans could pose a risk to motorists, as the fleet will be the equivalent of half a football pitch long, and are not suitable for the UK’s congested motorways.
Edmund King, President of the AA, said: “We have some of the busiest motorways in Europe with many more exits and entries. Platooning may work on the miles of deserted freeways in Arizona or Nevada but this is not America. A platoon of just three HGVs can obscure road signs from drivers in the outside lanes and potentially make access to entries or exits difficult for other drivers.
On the new motorways, without hard shoulders, lay-bys are every 1.5 miles. A driver in trouble may encounter difficulties trying to get into a lay-by if it is blocked by a platoon of trucks going past.”
Paul Maynard, the transport minister, said: “We are investing in technology that will improve people’s lives. “Advances such as lorry platooning could benefit businesses through cheaper fuel bills and other road users thanks to lower emissions and less congestion. First we must make sure the technology is safe and works well on our roads, and that’s why we are investing in these trials.”
RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said: “Streams of close-running HGVs could provide financial savings on long-distance journeys, but on our heavily congested motorways – with stop-start traffic and vehicles jostling for position – the benefits are less certain.”
Chinese retailer JD.com plan to launch a fleet of heavy lifting drones that can carry items weighing the equivalent of a small car across cities to its 235 million customers.
It began trials back in November 2016 and will primarily be used to carry goods to customers living in remote regions. JD.com is the Amazon of China, and with so many delivery networks it sees drones as the next big step. With 235 million regular customers, they need to adapt.
The move has frustrated Amazon, with boss Jeff Bezos frustrated that the Federal Aviation Administration can’t decide how to regulate the airways and taking 10 months to clear the first flights of its experimental drone. By that time, the applications approval was useless because the company had already built bigger and better drones. As a result, Amazon has now shifted its drone development facilities to Canada and the UK, and progress has been somewhat slower than its Chinese rivals.
However, instead of the drone delivering directly to customers’ doorsteps, a local delivery person retrieves the cargo from the drone, which may carry between eight and 15 packages that were ordered by people in the village. The delivery person then brings the packages to people’s doors. Amazon, on the other hand, has shown how it plans to use drones to deliver directly to people’s houses, as opposed to grouping local shipments like JD.
With technology expanding at a large rate, drones may be a new interesting concept, but at the moment they are just that. So called ‘old fashioned’ shipping methods will continue on as they always have, and companies will look for innovative and price effective ways of making sure that their customers still use people rather than just technology.
Think Worldwide have acquired more warehousing space to accommodate the increasing new customers that are utilising the Pick, Pack and Ship operation that we offer, or just simply storage.
We have added 2 new vans to the fleet which we feel were needed in order to continue the reliability in collections and deliveries.