How has the haulage sector changed since leaving the EU and how has COVID-19 impacted the sector?
At the moment, it seems like a day doesn’t go by where there isn’t a story in the media about lorry transport, logistics and the haulage industry. The past few years have certainly thrown the sector many challenges which has meant that haulage companies in London and Essex have had to adapt and find new ways of working. As with any change, this hasn’t always been easy and new legislation and regulations has meant many specialists in the sector have had to act quickly and efficiently in order to meet these amendments. Not to mention the travel restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and the knock on effect of these.
However, alongside the challenges many opportunities have opened up for transport companies in Essex, including reviewing working practices, salaries and the implementation of new technology.
In our latest blog post, the experts at Hammond Transport, one of the leading haulage companies in Essex, take a closer look at the past two years and what the changes have meant for businesses within the haulage sector, their employees and their clients.
What has Brexit meant for the haulage and logistics sector?
Since the UK voted to leave the EU back in 2016, businesses and organisations across a multitude of different sectors and industries have faced new challenges and regulations. Many of these changes took months to be confirmed by the UK government and the negotiation period meant that for a time, there was much uncertainty about what affect Britain leaving the EU would have on lorry transport.
Post Brexit, we’re now getting used to new ways of working, however the knock on effect is likely to be felt for some time yet. One of the major challenges which has arisen is the lack of qualified lorry drivers. When Britain was still part of the EU in 2017, around 45,000 HGV drivers in the UK were EU nationals. Since then, one report suggests this figure has dropped considerably, with around 15,000 Eastern European Drivers returning home.
Other factors contributing to the driver shortage includes:
- The government stopping the C1 driving entitlement which enabled a car licence holder to drive a 7.5t truck licence on 1st January 1997. This meant you had to pass your test before this date, effectively meaning that drivers now have to get a 7.5t test to drive these.
- Older drivers have left the business, this may due to the increased red-tape and traffic problems associated with the industry.
- HGV Driving tests were stopped or severely cut back during the pandemic.
- It has been a challenge to get young or new driver to come into the industry, the long hours and manual work are not attractive.
Couple this with tax reforms, a backlog of HGV driver tests, longer waits at border restrictions and COVID-19 regulations, a domino effect has been created, causing issues with supply chains from the NHS through to supermarkets.
How has COVID-19 impacted the sector?
Not only have we faced Brexit, the industry has also been at the forefront of the Covid-19 pandemic. From increased demand thanks to a surge in online shopping, through to travel restrictions and Covid testing, the haulage sector has had to adapt on many different levels.
What opportunities has there been for the lorry transport industry?
The challenges created by Brexit has also opened new opportunities for reform and made industry leaders look closer at how the haulage and lorry transport industries operate here in the UK. With an estimated shortfall of 100,000 drivers the government is shortening the HGV driver process, whilst a boost in salaries aims to attract more people into the career.
At Hammond Transport, we’ve worked hard to implement and adapt our ways of working to ensure continuity for each and every one of our customers. As a FORS Gold accredited business, our clients are safe in the knowledge that we’ll go above and beyond to meet their needs, and the last few years has been no exception. We continue to be one of the most renowned haulage companies in Essex and London and our proven track record speaks for itself.