The HGV driver shortage has escalated drastically in recent years, emphasized by the challenges of the COVID pandemic, and the side-effects of Brexit. According to the Road Haulage Association open letter to the UK government, we’re short around 100,000 certified HGV drivers.
The phenomenal shortage of HGV and lorry drivers in the UK is drawing attention to just how crucial these professionals are. HGV drivers aren’t just another presence on the roads of Britain, they’re also an essential resource, ensuring the world continues to operate smoothly.
Without the right supply of HGV drivers, we wouldn’t have access to essential resources like food or fuel, nor would we be able to rely on the convenience associated with shopping online. Today, we’re going to look at the top ways we, as a nation, depend on HGV drivers.
Currently, around 87% of UK households make regular online purchases. Recently, the pandemic has prompted a significant increase in this number, as fewer supermarkets and stores have been allowed to open. We’re all relying more heavily on the digital world to access everything from clothing and food to electronics and home supplies.
Of course, the ecommerce world isn’t entirely digital – there’s a physical element involved too – which includes HGV drivers moving cargo and containers full of crucial goods from one country or city to another. Short-haul lorry drivers ensure warehouses remain stocked with crucial items for customers shopping online, while long-haul drivers bring in valuable products from Europe and other regions overseas. Without the HGV, online shopping would cease to exist.
Already, countless consumers over the last couple of years have noticed how difficult it’s becoming to purchase items online and have them delivered quickly. While this does have a connection to Brexit, it’s also largely attributed to the HGV driver shortage.
Almost every business in the UK relies on HGVs in some way. From offices relying on lorries to give them access to office supplies, to retail chains who turn to HGV drivers as a way of transporting goods to and from warehouse facilities.
We’ve already seen examples of how the economy can suffer without access to HGV drivers in the retail market. For instance, business leaders in the supermarket industry have struggled to keep shelves stocked over the pandemic, with reduced access to lorry drivers to help them access the essential items their customers need. Everything from toilet paper to pet food has been in short supply over the last couple of years.
If the logistics industry continues to struggle, the economy will struggle with it. It’s not just supermarkets either. Major brands in the hospitality sector like Wetherspoons have struggled with limited access to food and beer.
Speaking of shortages in food, HGV drivers play a huge part in the supply chain affecting our food. Many lorry drivers are responsible for delivering the agricultural machinery and products to UK farms which allow farmers to grow crops and breed livestock. They’re also responsible for moving food and perishable items through the supply chain, to ensure we can access the meals we need in hospitality businesses, or the supermarket.
One of the biggest concerns facing the UK during the HGV driver shortage is the worry that lack of lorry drivers will seriously damage our food industry. While produce is still growing, there aren’t enough drivers to deliver it, which means rising food prices for consumers, and an increasing risk of waste. It’s not just food that’s suffering either, but a host of specialist items.
HGV drivers regularly transport specialist items for things like medical research, national security, and more. They’re even responsible for transporting the liquids like petrol and fuel which keep the country operating as normal. Without these essential items, the entire of the UK begins to suffer. We stop making progress in crucial areas, and struggle to operate as a “first-world” country.
While large trucks might not seem like the most eco-friendly product in the world, they make an important difference to the way we preserve sustainability in the UK – particularly in relation to the food and pharmaceutical landscape.
After all, if perishable items aren’t delivered on time, they may have spoiled before they reach their final destination. This means as a country, we begin to produce more waste, even as consumers struggle to get their hands on food. The Grocer even reported around 50,000kg of fresh food went to waste in one week due to a lack of HGV drivers.
Producing this food requires around 8,526 million litres of water, and it creates around 85,500 tons of carbon emissions. If this food goes to waste, that precious energy, and water is wasted too. HGVs are even responsible for delivering the solar panels, wind farm equipment, and other tools which allow us to build more energy-efficient solutions for power in the UK.
Finally, while most people don’t realise this, HGV drivers are responsible for a lot of the things we enjoy doing in the United Kingdom. Without HGVs to set up stages and important equipment, we wouldn’t have the major music festivals or outdoor concerts people look forward to on an annual basis. Festivals for both summer and winter would be cancelled, and Christmas markets would be impossible, due to a lack of transport for equipment.
HGVs are necessary for setting up things like carnivals and funfairs during the summer, as they help with the delivery of huge attractions, booths, and rides. You may have noticed a lorry carrying various large items on a flat-bed vehicle throughout the summer months of the years.
Without HGVs, we’d even struggle to create the popular movies and TV shows that keep us entertained in the UK. A lot of major sets and crucial pieces of equipment are transported with the use of lorries and trained HGV drivers.
Ultimately, without HGV drivers, the UK would be a very different place. Everything from our retail opportunities to our access to food and fuel would suffer. If you want to play a part in keeping the country running smoothly, why not earn your own HGV driving license with HGV Training Centre today?
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