HGV driver shortage 'getting worse' says expert

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The UK faces a chronic lack of HGV lorry drivers as industry leaders pen a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson amid growing concerns over shortages. BBC Reality Check’s Chris Morris painted a worrying picture as he broke down the scale of the issue on Tuesday. He quoted from a survey of members of the Road Haulage Association which showed that 100,000 driver places need urgent filling in order to get goods moving.

Mr Morris said: “None of us likes to be stuck behind an HGV lorry on the motorway but they do keep the economy moving by transporting everything around the country.

“Now industry leaders wrote to the Prime Minister last month and their estimate based on a survey of members of the Road Haulage Association there are now 100,000 driver shortages around the country.

“And that is based on a pre-pandemic total of more than 600,000 drivers.

“So a large chunk of that driver population is not in place.”

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He continued: “Thousands of those drivers were EU drivers and a lot of them were living and working here but they have now gone home.

“So we have had warnings flooding in from supermarkets like Tesco, from the sweet manufacture Haribo, but also from fruit picking companies, from the constructions sector, from manufacturers who rely on these just on-time deliveries.

“They are all saying pretty much the same thing.

“That the situation is getting worse.”

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Germany’s logistics system has reportedly been thrown into a similar crisis with Brexit rule changes leaving businesses in chaos.

Last month DW News spoke to one hard-up export firm in Germany where staff told of lorries being stuck for days waiting for clearance at customs.

While other staff at the freight company spoke of “tons of extra work” needed to complete bureaucratic forms for goods traveling to the UK. 

A German logistics manager told DW News: “We don’t have enough vehicles for the same amount of freight. Now a truck is gone for a full day or if something goes wrong two days longer.

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“At the moment one truck has been stuck in France for two days because the paperwork wasn’t correct. None of our planning works out.”

The biggest headaches are with imports from the UK, concluded the DW News report.

The DW News presenter added: “There is not enough staff to prepare the necessary paperwork.

“That’s why the company no longer accepts orders where there is bound to be chaos at customs. Everything changed with the UK officially left the EU on January 31, 2020.”

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