With Brexit nearing a year old, the impact it is having on the haulage industry is becoming clear. While recent headlines around the industry have focused on the vast shortage of drivers and empty shelves, can this all be attributed to Brexit?
The haulage industry is essential to the UK economy, contributing £124 billion annually and playing a vital role in supporting supply chains, manufacturers, retail businesses and much more. While there can be no denying that Brexit has impacted the industry, it is not the only issue.
The impact of Brexit
The biggest impact of Brexit has been the reduction in EU drivers able to work in the UK. The Road Haulage Association (RHA) estimates that there is currently a deficit of 100,000 truck drivers in the UK.
As the UK left the single market, it created significant barriers for EU drivers. No longer are they able to freely move across the border, while they are also facing substantial costs and paperwork when trying to arrive in the country. This has resulted in many of them seeking jobs in EU countries due to the lower costs and easier journeys, with there currently an estimated 16,000 fewer EU drivers compared to 2020.
Of course, it is not just the lack of drivers. Brexit has created lengthy queues at the border, extending delivery times, with 81% of drivers experiencing some kind of delay, while 19% of businesses have ceased working with EU companies.
However, while there can be no denying the impact it has had on the industry, for a lot of businesses, it has not had the impact they first feared. Research from the Haulage Exchange found 19% of companies did not experience the increase in fees they first feared, while 29% had fewer licencing and registration challenges than they expected.
Haulage in the post-Brexit world
As the effects of Brexit continue to shake out, the industry is still adapting to the changes. However, demand for haulage is higher than ever, and the resilience of companies is helping to create a unique prospect for drivers.
The rising need for drivers to combat the current shortage has seen a raft of changes introduced to make it easier and more lucrative for individuals to become truck drivers. In July of this year, the government announced that it would be revamping the testing requirements, ensuring drivers on the need to take one test in order to drive both rigid and articulated lorries. They are also looking at measures to improve working conditions by increasing salaries and transforming the condition of lorry parks.
They are also working with local councils to introduce more flexible delivery times, while the Department for Work and Pensions is also currently developing a new driver training pilot with the JobCentre.
Looking to become a truck driver?
While Brexit has certainly caused issues, it has also created significant demand for drivers and initiated much-needed reform. There has never been a better time to become a truck driver, and it can be an incredibly rewarding career for both men and women.
Here at FlexiStaff, we know just how rewarding of a career it can be. That is why we offer comprehensive CPC training for drivers, helping to train workers across the UK to become safer in work. So if you want to find out more about our training courses, check them out or get in touch with our team today.