The Freight Transport Association (FTA), the Road Haulage Association (RHA), the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) and the Institute of Road Transport Engineers (IRTE) held a round table discussion to establish a collaboration to improve the industry’s public image and attract more drivers and technicians.
FTA chief executive David Wells said: “We are delighted to announce we have agreed to form a joint organisation to promote our industry. We are in a battle for talent and facing a skills shortage so we need to up our game to attract young people, ethnic minorities and women to our industry – areas where we are seriously under-represented.
Battle for talent
“Working together in this way will create a powerful voice that will shout about the benefits of working in an industry that is vital to the UK economy.”
The new joint organisation will be formalised by the end of September and will build on lessons learned from the successful FairFuelUK campaign, a collaborative body that lobbies against rises in fuel duty. The FTA and RHA are both founder members.
Commenting, RHA ceo Richard Burnett said: “UK hauliers play a crucial role in moving the UK’s economy and delivering daily life. The RHA already works hard to give road transport operators a voice. By collaborating with the FTA, CILT and IRTE to raise the profile of the industry, we can make that voice even stronger.”
CILT ceo Steve Agg said: “We want to promote the public’s appreciation of our industry, in all its forms, as well as attract more people to join our profession and therefore feel that it is vital we work with other leading industry partners to raise our industry’s profile.”
IRTE acting ceo Ian Chisholm added: “By working together we will have a stronger voice and be better able to support road transport professionals, ensuring the long-term viability of the UK’s road transport network.”
At the end of 2014 the RHA warned that 45,000 HGV drivers were due to retire within the next two years, and there were not enough new entrants to the industry to replace them.
Supermarkets are also understood to be taking action to address the shortage, although publicly they have denied that the issue could potentially paralyse the perishable food sector.