Sturman’s warning follows the publication of the House Of Commons Transport Select Committee’s report, which claimed that current recruitment and training measures were falling short and wouldn’t prevent a shortfall of goods vehicle drivers in the road haulage industry.
“The shortage of full-time and agency drivers in the UK has been discussed at length by government, the media and my colleagues from other organisations,” said Sturman.
“But a united approach is required in order to ensure the government and the public understands the very real risks the country faces in light of this crisis.”
‘Attract new drivers’
“The efforts of the transport industry to date have been inadequate in structuring an attractive employment proposition in order to attract new drivers into the industry.
“As a result, there has been little change in the diversity of drivers and the image of the profession is still white, male and middle-aged.”
Sturman agreed with the call made by Louise Ellman MP, chair of the Transport Committee, for a cohesive, measurable plan that focused on the attraction, recruitment and retention of new drivers from a diverse range of backgrounds in order to prevent the impending shortage.
“Unless there is immediate action, the impact of driver shortages will start to hit the pockets of the people of Great Britain,” he warned.
“The escalating driver shortage issue is likely to lead to increases in wage costs, which should in reality increase transport costs, as both own account and logistics service supply vehicle operators pull out all the stops to recruit, train and retain drivers.”
However, he didn’t think these additional costs were likely to be offset by higher productivity, with the result that they would have to be passed down the supply chain and would ultimately be picked up by consumers across the retail, wholesale and foodservice sectors.