The freight and logistics sector is still suffering a shortage of skilled drivers, according to the Freight Transport Association’s July Quarterly Transport Activity Survey.
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, FTA members are keen for clarification on what the post-Brexit situation will be.
“At a time when businesses are becoming increasingly reliant on an efficient supply chain, the lack of qualified drivers available to work could soon become cause for concern,” said Christopher Snelling, FTA Head of National and Regional Policy. “And with just over 57% of respondents to the survey also anticipating a shortage of HGV drivers moving into the second half of 2017, it is clear the industry needs a recruitment boost to overcome the potential issues which this could cause in the long term to Britain’s ongoing profitability.”
International trade through UK-based hauliers also proved less buoyant than anticipated in April, and could reflect the low levels of growth in the overall economy during the second quarter.
Respondents reported weaker growth in domestic road freight activity levels in Q1 2017 compared to the previous quarter. The outturn growth in activity reported was lower than the expected level of growth anticipated in the April 2017 QTAS report, reflecting the muted growth in the UK economy during the period.
However, the survey did give cause for cautious optimism about domestic logistics operations, with most industrial sectors and most regions indicating reasonable levels of growth in Q2 2017, and the majority reporting that they expect strong growth in Q3 activity levels.
Looking forwards, growth in demand for haulier hire and contract hire is expected to be broadly similar to the previous quarter in the next three-month period, with growth in demand for contract distribution expected to be softer.