Working Time Directive limit on lorry drivers’ hours will add to skills shortage

The UK haulage industry is expected to undergo a recruitment drive this year with a particular focus on new drivers, according to a new report.

A survey conducted by financial advisers Grant Thornton, finds that recruiting new drivers is a key priority for eight in 10 respondents.

The survey coincides with the enforcement of the Working Time Directive on drivers’ hours which restricts drivers to working 56 hours over any seven-day period. It is believed that such a measure will increase driver shortages from a current tally of 40,000 to 65,000.

Ian Carr, a partner within Grant Thornton’s Recovery & Reorganisation practice, believes the Working Time Directive will worsen the current situation for the haulage industry.

“UK hauliers continue to be between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand high costs and foreign competitors undercutting prices have put a firm squeeze on profitability; on the other driver shortages are putting a hand-brake on expansion,” he said.

“The industry has had to contend with driver shortages for some time now. Recruiting, training and retaining drivers is no mean feat and the short-stop solution has been to look to Eastern Europe. With demand growing, further recruitment of Eastern European drivers is certainly on the cards.”

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