Here is a round up of some of the latest HGV news.
In its edition of the 25th of October 2015, The Guardian newspaper reported the continuing efforts of the Road Haulage Association (RHA) to stimulate recruitment to fill the estimated 50,000 shortage of qualified lorry drivers.
For the second year running, the RHA is warning that the shortage of drivers puts the upsurge in deliveries around Christmas time at risk – in a supply chain where an estimated 85% of all products purchased in the UK have been delivered by road.
The latest iteration of one of the RHA’s major lobbying efforts came in the final stages of the first National Lorry Week initiative and repeated calls for the government to do something to promote easier and more widespread recruitment of new, younger, professional drivers.
The Welsh Government to invest in future lorry drivers
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says that the Welsh Government has responded to its calls for support in filling sector vacancies with the announcement of a significant investment in driver training.
The FTA estimates that around 45,000 professional drivers are needed to fill vacancies across the country. Along with Tandem Transport Services, John Raymond Transport and Owens, the FTA have been lobbying the Welsh Government and the Department for Work and Pensions for funding for driver licence acquisition.
The Welsh Government has agreed to train up to 180 unemployed people as lorry drivers. Sally Gilson, FTA’s Skills Policy Development Manager, was quoted on the HGVUK.com site as saying: “This is the culmination of months of lobbying by FTA for investment in training and we are pleased that the Welsh Government recognises the importance of the freight industry”.
One other novel – if still slightly alarming – solution to the first story might also lie around the corner much sooner than you had imagined.
HGV manufacturers Daimler have already made sufficient progress in the development of completely driverless lorries that they have tested one on the public highway in Germany – according to a report by the BBC on the 5th of October.
At this stage, the company is stressing that driver-free control is achieved through an automated “highway pilot” and that a qualified driver still needs to be present in the cab.
At this pace, however, it might not be long before truly driverless HGVs start appearing on our roads – cutting any driver shortage at a stroke, but giving endless headaches when it comes to devising new ways and means of HGV insurance. Rest assured that here at specialists in HGV cover, Isis Insurance, we are keeping an especially close eye on any such development.