FTA: Festive driver shortage likely

15th September 2014

FTA offers health and safety update for fleets

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has issued a warning that a shortage of qualified drivers could be witnessed this festive season that might impact deliveries for people up and down the country.

With Christmas and the New Year one of the busiest seasons for the UK's retail sector, the FTA has argued consumers across the UK could be left high and dry when it comes to receiving their goods on time, as a current shortfall in drivers threatens to get worse before it gets better.

Sally Gilson, the FTA's skills policy development manager, said: "Not all Christmas presents arrive by magic. The ones we order online and buy in shops for friends and relatives, along with all the food and drink we buy in for parties and Christmas lunch, are delivered every year by the logistics industry.

"This massive peak in demand leads to heavy use of agency drivers and FTA members are really worried that these drivers may not be legally ready to drive when they are needed."

Indeed, a poll carried out by the organisation at its most recent conference showed 82 per cent of respondents believe the issue of driver provision to meet the growing demand for deliveries is a "massive problem" and one that requires immediate action if a disaster is to be averted.

Costs surrounding both training under the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence and the acquisition of a licence were highlighted by Ms Gilson as being among the chief issues holding back more people from taking up roles within the sector.

Indeed, she revealed the typical cost of becoming a fully accredited professional driver now stands at more than £3,000. As a result, hauliers up and down the country are struggling to take on new staff and, ultimately, it could be the consumer that suffers when their deliveries are not completed on time.