Driver shortage could bring UK logistics sector 'to a standstill'

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
24 July 2015

Rising demand for truck drivers coupled with low numbers of candidates risks bringing the logistics sector “to a standstill”, research warns.

A survey of specialist driver recruiters by Comensura found more than 70 per cent expected demand for drivers to grow by at least 10 per cent this year, but more than half reported low or very low candidate availability.

A report warned between 2010 and 2020 an estimated 149,000 new drivers would be needed. “To cope with this ever increasing demand the government needs to address the problem of recruiting younger people immediately,” said the report.

Comensura said the transport industry could be brought “to a standstill” because of the driver shortage, caused by an ageing workforce and young candidates being put off by the £2,000 cost of completing the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence. This qualification must be held by all bus, coach and lorry drivers.

The report said more than 60 per cent of large goods vehicle (LGV) drivers are aged 45 or above and the average age of an LGV driver is 53.

Comensura said the logistics sector was worth more than £74 billion to the UK economy and it employed around 2.2 million people in more than 196,000 firms.

Jon Milton, business development director at Comensura, said: “It seems vital that the sector attracts more young people and equips them with the skills to become competent professional drivers so that it isn’t held back in the future by a lack of skilled workers.”

The survey involved 28 recruitment agencies.

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