Friday, August 7, 2015

HGV Driver Shortage Prompts Other Logistics Industry Outfits to Join Road Haulage Freight Interests

Four Transport Leaders Form Coalition to Boost Sector Profile
Shipping News Feature

UK – Four leading trade bodies that represent the UK logistics industry have pledged to work together to improve the industry’s public image and attract more staff, at a time when the supply chain industry is facing an ever increasingly worrying skills shortage. The two founding members, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and the Road Haulage Association (RHA), have been campaigning for some time now for the government to implement some sort of action to encourage new blood to enter the sector, particularly given the number of HGV drivers required. 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. 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.”

Joining the FTA and the RHA are the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) and the Institute of Road Transport Engineers (IRTE), which jointly held a round table discussion to establish a collaboration to promote the logistics sector in light of the industry’s driver and technician shortage. CILT CEO Steve Agg added:

“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. The Institute’s motto is ‘Stronger Together’ and we believe that by working together with the FTA, RHA and IRTE we can promote the many benefits of our industry.”

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. IRTE acting CEO Ian Chisholm commented:

“The UK’s road transport sector is the backbone of its economic infrastructure. We must continually look at where we are with regards to how we promote road transport, and who we attract to this vital industry. 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.”

According to the FTA, the industry is currently 40,000 drivers short and with 45,000 due to retire in the next two years, not including those who have to leave for medical reasons or who have found another job, whilst only 17,000 are estimated to be entering the industry annually. The RHA recently partnered with the Jobcentre Plus in order to promote a work experience programme to bring new talent into the sector, targeted specifically to 18-to-24 age group. Speaking on the impact UK’s drivers have on the industry, RHA CEO Richard Burnett said:

“UK hauliers play a crucial role in moving the UK’s economy and delivering daily life. As an organisation 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.”

Photo: Each year young truck drivers from across Europe compete in a competition supported by the European Commission, the International Road Transport Union (IRU) and various commercial sponsors.