Haulage experts have warned that a shortage of lorry drivers could lead to late Christmas deliveries in 2016.
There is currently a national shortage of lorry drivers in the UK, and it is estimated that for every qualified driver, there are nine vacancies available.*
Richard Burnett, from the Royal Haulage Association has said:
“We are short of between 45,000 and 50,000 drivers and the situation is getting worse.”
With the average age of a lorry driver in the UK being 53, retirement levels in the industry are high, and the introduction of the CPC has brought forward retirement for many experienced drivers.
"If you're someone who's approaching retirement age, to be told that you've got to have a bit of paper, that you've got to go and sit in a classroom for a week to do the job you've done for the last 40 years of your life, they don't take it very well," said Alan Ferguson of Ferguson's Transport.
And unfortunately, there is not a strong flow of newly qualified lorry drivers available to fill the seats of retirees. The average cost to obtain a lorry licence starts from £3,000, with no student loans or government grants currently available.
Richard Burnett added that:
“Younger people can't afford the £3,000 it costs to get a truck licence. The government could help but won't. They should support a truck driving apprenticeship but are refusing to do so; even though they are forcing the larger trucking firms to pay the new apprenticeship levy. This industry employs 2.2 million people, contributing £74.5 billion. We have a huge impact on the lives of everyone in Britain and sometimes that positive contribution is overlooked. ‘National Lorry Week’ will provide the opportunity to reach out to those concerned and highlight our value’’.
Help raise awareness of the situation by using the hashtag #LoveTheLorry throughout National Lorry Week.