Shropshire haulage firms 'are coping' but call for better conditions for lorry drivers

Haulage firms say the UK has to look after its lorry drivers or risk a complete breakdown in the transport chain.

Bureaucratic red tape and inflated wages being offered to drivers by retail giants are among the reasons firms across Shropshire blame for a lack of HGV drivers across the UK.

While county firms say they are coping, some say they are having to rely on contract drivers more often.

One supermarket in Shropshire said it was having to find alternative suppliers for some items to ensure its customers were not faced with empty shelves.

A nationwide shortage of HGV drivers has seen supply issues for everything from food to prescriptions. And the Government has now announced plans to change HGV test rules in a bid to quell shortages.

Morris Transport, based in Oswestry, says independent haulage firms can't compete with the money being offered to drivers by the supermarket chains.

"We know that agencies are advertising HGV jobs are incredibly inflated wages, for the supermarket supply chain. The supermarkets are panicking over filling their shelves for the Christmas market," livestock co-ordinator for the company, Ben Williams, said.

"But these will be short contracts and the over inflated prices will be a drop in the ocean to the supermarkets."

He said Morris Transport was not in danger of having a shortage of drivers.

The firm specialises in transporting livestock and meat.

"There is certainly a bigger volume of sales. People are not going abroad on holiday so hospitality in the UK is busy and needs more supplies and people are spending more time at home and so their food buy is more."

"However in the long term we need to provide far better facilities for drivers in the UK to attract more people to the industry."

Pentons Haulage said it too was coping with attracting drivers although there were always positions available and said the company supported newly-qualified drivers.

"We have relied more on subcontractors recently," spokesman Barry Williams said.

"The whole of the food industry is suffering because the supply chain is broken."

He said many older drivers were giving up the career and their licences.

"The introduction of the Certificate of Professional Competence had had a major effect on the loss of older drivers. The idea of going back to the classroom after being on the road for years is the final straw for many of them," he said.

"We are also having to compete with huge wages being offered by supermarkets, money that is just not sustainable."

Stans Superstore in St Martins said management was working hard to ensure its shelves were fully stocked.

Justin Smart, general manger, said: "Some suppliers are putting a cap on what we order and so we are having to find new suppliers for some products.

"On our non-food lines, anything that comes from China is very difficult to obtain but we have found other manufacturers. We are confident that we can continue to offer our usual variety to our customers."

Most Read

Most Read

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News