Christmas is just around the corner and companies up and down the country are getting ready. From turkeys to sprouts, baubles to mince pies, so much of what makes Christmas has to be transported all across the UK, this is in addition to everything else that needs shifting every other week of the year. Not forgetting over 130 million parcels that Royal Mail deliver. All in all, the festive season is incredibly reliant on the haulage industry and the drivers.
In anticipation of the increase in business over Christmas, companies have been recruiting well in advance; Argos has taken on 10,000 temp workers and Royal Mail are looking for almost double that amount to help get letters and parcels where they need to be, when they need to be there. Over 80% of recruitment firms supplying temporary drivers to supermarkets and retailers anticipate that a shortage of drivers will be a significant problem in the Christmas run up.
However, while many more jobs are being created throughout the supply chain there is still a significant need for an increase in HGV drivers to move the good around the country to and from warehouses and distribution centres. This comes at a time when the haulage industry is already experiencing shortages; the Road Haulage Association estimates about 60,000 drivers short, with an ageing workforce losing 40,000 more in the next year. However, the Christmas rush merely highlights an underlying year-round problem with falling levels of drivers. There are significant barriers holding numbers down; the high cost of getting an HGV licence and difficult working environment to name just a couple.