Britain is Short of 100,000 Truckers


via Pixabay

Trucks parked in a row

Britain is currently in a shortage of over 100,000 truck drivers due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other complications. This shortage is affecting many supply chains across Europe. Because of this, trucks couldn’t deliver gasoline, which resulted in long lines at petrol stations across the country. The shortage also led to the lack of food and medicine. Why is this happening? What caused the shortage of truck drivers? 

The answer is Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic. Brexit is the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union. Over 25,000 European workers have left the UK because of Brexit and Covid. The virus resulted in truck drivers retiring early. The average age of a lorry driver is 55, but more and more drivers are retiring early because of the pandemic, or they left the industry to look for other jobs that allow them to be closer to their families. Even before the pandemic began, the estimated shortage of drivers was over 60,000. 

Experts warn that the UK is not alone in driver shortages and that other parts of Europe may suffer from this crisis as well. Because of Brexit, it had been hard for truck drivers to drive in or out of the UK, which caused long queues at ports and borders, and eventually led to the shortage of food and medicine. Prices of goods went up, and driver wages were being increased to meet the demand. Brexit also impacted other industries that rely on European workers, like agriculture and health care. It was also difficult to get new truck drivers because of the pandemic. Problems like this haven’t gotten better since the pandemic has eased.

But what is being done about this? The UK government made a change to the Drivers’ Hours rules, which allow them to increase their daily driving limit from nine to eleven hours twice a week. However, it has been criticized for compromising safety and is not expected to make much of a difference to the problem. Nighttime deliveries have also been allowed, and the government is increasing the number of available driving tests in an effort to avert the crisis. The Road Haulage Association is persuading the government to loosen Brexit immigration rules so that foreign drivers can return on a temporary basis. Over 2,000 military HGV drivers are reported to be on standby to help with deliveries of food and medicine.