The UK Haulage Shortage: What’s Going On?

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If you’ve paid any attention to the news in recent weeks, you may well have noticed that there’s growing concern over available haulage services in the UK. There are a few reasons for these concerns rising up, and not only that, it’s important to know where things are heading in the weeks to come.

What's the Problem?

Right now, the UK is experiencing a shortage of haulage drivers qualified to courier items up and down the country. In the vast majority of cases, according to a survey undertaken by the Road Haulage Association, it’s taking anywhere between four to more than eight weeks to find drivers to courier goods.

The RHA further states that it’s likely the country is looking at a shortage of around 100,000 drivers, if not more, to continue driving HGVs. This is becoming more of a concern for the government, as well as for everyday people, as Christmas and New Year are only a couple of months away.

What's the Cause?

Logistics problems in the UK right now are generally being blamed on Brexit in the wider press. That’s because many EU nationals who were previously legally able to drive haulage in the UK can no longer do so. This has led to, amongst other things, the government approving emergency visas to bring thousands of HGV hauliers back to work.

However, Brexit is the simplest answer – and it’s not actually the whole picture. Statistics show that the number of HGV drivers in the UK has wobbled since 2010, and there has in fact been a sway towards older drivers taking to the wheel over younger HGV experts.

We need to also consider that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major problems in haulage, just as it has for most other industries since March 2020. Many people working from Europe have chosen to head back to the continent out of pure safety. Others have had to upskill and change jobs completely to help stay afloat.

There is also the fact that there are concerns over the UK’s current haulage standards, at least compared to those that drivers experience in the EU. Many drivers state that they prefer to work the roads in Europe compared to the British system.

Therefore, it is something of a perfect storm. Both Brexit and COVID-19 have had parts to play in the crisis, and with a very busy shipping period coming up, it is clear that we are about to hit a bottleneck as a country.

That said, there are other concerns – meaning that this is a more complex problem than many media outlets are making out.

What's Happens Next?

The government is striving to get as many haulage drivers on the road and away as soon as possible. Christmas is always hugely busy for couriers, and as such, many people up and down the country risk being disappointed.

For individual courier firms such as Reliant, it is a case of offering you our professional word. Our crew of talented drivers receive the utmost support in all that they do – they are the lifeblood of our service (as is obvious)!

As such, we anticipate the festive period being particularly busy this year – thanks to problems listed above, which are contributing to a harmful bottleneck. This, however, simply means that we will work harder than ever to support our drivers, our crews, our customers and our consignments.

Just because there are wider concerns with the haulage industry in the UK right now doesn’t mean we are about to let down our guard. You have our full commitment during what will likely be a hectic time – Christmas is not cancelled on our watch, we can assure you!

Where Will This All Lead?

The government is reportedly overhauling the industry to the extent where they are appealing to around a million qualified drivers to take to the roads once again – and to help lower the backlog.

On top of this, UK press reported that the government is working to relaxing drivers’ hours, as well as to lessen certain rules applying to cabotage, where foreign drivers will reportedly now be able to make unlimited numbers of consignments during a fortnight period.

Of course, we will have to see what happens to such rules and overhauls as things transpire further. In the meantime, rest assured that we will be working hard to keep you and your consignments on track.

Make sure to contact us today to book your consignments and shipments ahead of the festive rush – and we’ll be with you every step of the way.

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Customer Reviews

Didi Didi 18th January 2022


Tom Livingstone 03/09/2021

Excellent services from a reliable and trusted company. I always recommend them.

Natalie Spokes 24/11/2020

5 star service! Highly recommend.

Adamo Lucien 28/10/2020

Wow, if you need a courier Reliant Couriers Ltd is the best. No drama, no hassle, just excellent couriering. This was the easiest transaction of my life.

Ryan Hall 10/12/2019

5 Star Service, Sent a Pallet and Received it back a Week later as planned, Email confirmations of everything as it was happening. There was a Change of plan and I Added a second pallet for collection of 600kg £25,000 Machine and there was no Drama's what so ever. Will definitely use them again.