The UK Government has been urged to take action as the driver shortage threatens economic recovery in Northern Ireland
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) in the UK estimates that there is a chronic driver shortage of over 1,200 in Northern Ireland. Is it any different here in the Republic?
The RHA is to deliver an urgent plea to the British Prime Minister demanding government intervention to help with the chronic truck driver shortage, which is having a profound affect on the UK’s supply chain and which threatens to slow the UK economic recovery.
There is a truck driver shortage in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, estimated to be in the region of 45,000 thousand. And with over 35,000 thousand existing drivers due to retire in the next two years, the situation is deteriorating fast. There are numerous reports of the driver shortage leading to operators turning work away, having to park up trucks and cancelling orders for new trucks.
The UK’s Road Haulage Association chief executive Richard Burnett said: “The RHA represents UK hauliers who, between them, operate over 100,000 heavy goods vehicles. Our members, quite literally, move the UK economy. We are now facing an unprecedented and critical shortage of qualified truck drivers – currently estimated to be in the order of 45,000 across the country. Current retirement levels and low levels of new entrants to the industry are creating a perfect storm.
“The cost of training to be a truck driver is very high – typically some £3,000. This is a serious barrier for individuals wishing to train up. Margins in the small and medium sized haulage companies that make up the bulk of our industry are very tight and this limits their capacity to fund the required training.
“To keep the economic recovery on track, the government needs to act, and act fast. We are urging the Prime Minister and Chancellor to invest £150m in driver training in the July budget.
UK hauliers move the economy. This driver shortage threatens to slow the economic recovery.”
The driver shortage figure of 1,206 for Northern Ireland is calculated by regional split based on ONS headline estimates for December 2014 – February 2015.