How serious is the shortage of lorry drivers?

Several companies have complained about not having enough lorry drivers, which has created shortages for some products.

But a combination of Covid, Brexit and other factors, means there aren’t enough drivers to meet demand.

How have companies been affected?

  • The Wetherspoons chain said some of its pubs have run out of some beer brands
  • Brewers Heineken and Molson Coors said they had been hit by the shortage of HGV drivers
  • Coca Cola Europacific Partners said some supermarkets were running out of Diet Coke because of driver shortages and problems sourcing Aluminium cans
  • Nando’s temporarily closed 50 sites blaming supply chain issues
  • McDonalds stopped sales of milkshakes and bottled drinks blaming a shortages of HGV drivers
  • Haribo is struggling to deliver to the UK because of shortages of HGV drivers
  • BP temporarily closed a “handful” of its UK sites due to not being able to get petrol and diesel to them
  • Iceland’s managing director told the BBC his company was cancelling 30-40 deliveries a day
  • Prisoners are going to help plug the worker shortage in the meat industry amid warnings of shortages of some meat products for Christmas.

Bank of England report, covering April to June, also found that “transportation delays had resulted in shortages of some items, such as furniture, car parts and electrical goods”.

Severe shortages of materials for the construction sector, such as cement and timber, as well as problem for the manufacturing sector, were also highlighted.

How serious has the problem become?

There is now a shortage of more than 100,000 drivers in the UK, out of a pre-pandemic total of about 600,000, a Road Haulage Association survey of its members estimates.

That number included tens of thousands of drivers from EU member states who were living and working in the UK.

Even before Covid, the estimated shortage was about 60,000 drivers.

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