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Driver shortage in the UK could slow down online deliveries

The United Kingdom desperately needs more lorry drivers or otherwise consumers will have to wait longer for their orders to arrive at their homes. Wincanton, the largest logistics group in the UK, calls for action and wants more lorry drivers trained. The current shortage could pose a major threat to the industry, the company says.

Wincanton now calls for combined action from industry and the government to tackle the issue before it causes serious problems to the wider economy and consumers will feel the financial consequences, the Telegraph writes.

Only 20,000 new LGV drivers per year
The British logistics group currently has about 5,500 drivers of large goods vehicles, but according to recent data from the Freight Transport Association the country needs at least another 60,000. Currently there are 326,000 qualified LGV drivers in the United Kingdom, but only 20,000 are entering the profession each year.

“Deliveries could rise in price”
Aside from deliveries taking longer to arrive because of the driver shortage, they could also rise in price as companies fight for qualified drivers and push up wages. “It won’t be a case of turkeys not being on supermarket shelves for Christmas, because the large companies can put more resources into the problem”, HR director Julie Welch says. “It will be smaller deliveries, such as those that end up in consumers’ homes, that will become much more delayed.” She thinks companies like Amazon could be affected of the driver crisis. “The big food retailers that do home deliveries could raise minimum spending levels to make them more cost-effective as they seek efficiencies, she adds.

The Telegraphs points to figures from the Road Haulage Association, which shows that more than half of existing drivers are aged over 50 and facing retirement. Younger entrants are hard to attract, with now fewer than 5 percent of current drivers being under 25. Other barriers to take into account, are the fact health and safety laws now stop young people from spending a day in a lorry’s cab and getting to see what the job is about, and the high costs of becoming qualified to drive a large commercial vehicle.