Will Brexit make the driver shortage crisis even worse?

Will Brexit make the driver shortage crisis even worse?

The UK haulage industry is failing to attract new workers to the industry. It has an ageing driver population and a heavy reliance on EU workers to fulfill workloads. It has been argued that European legislation has contributed to the shortage. But could Brexit mean a deepening crisis?

Has European legislation contributed to the crisis so far?

The introduction of the controversial Driver CPC saw some experienced drivers opt for retirement rather than undergoing additional training.

Similarly, the arrival of the digital or ‘smart tachograph’ means a further cost of entry for those wishing to become drivers. Other rules that have been introduced around in cab break allowances have made matters worse. Although designed to improve driver welfare, many in the industry see them as a barrier and complain at the lack of service areas or lorry parks open to drivers.

In short, the perception is that being a haulier means high costs for training and equipment, less than desirable working conditions, and further uncertainty for the future.

Uncertain future for hauliers post-Brexit

For larger operators, employing migrant EU drivers in order to fulfill their book of work, Brexit could mean an end to the access to this workforce. Whether the industry will successfully attract and recruit enough UK drivers to keep on top of demand remains to be seen, but it’s clear that driver recruitment and training schemes such as Trailblazer will need to go into overdrive.

For owner-operators, there are concerns, too. Exporters will be affected by trade tariff’s and are likely to attempt to pass these increased costs onto third party transport providers.

The likely imposition of full border and customs control and the general tightening on movement through borders will mean time lost and greater inefficiency for drivers.

The driver shortage crisis has been a concern for a number of years now, and the impact of Brexit may well make matters worse. The UK haulage industry needs to act fast to improve driver recruitment and training in order to ensure that it can fulfill demand.