Driver Shortage is the main challenge facing the transport sector and is a key and current discussion in the industry. An increasingly high demand for HGV drivers in the UK, matched with an increasingly low supply of them, is causing many to worry about the months approaching Christmas. The situation and its effects are already clearly visible, with empty supermarket shelves an all too common occurrence. In the search for a solution, it has become evident that new drivers are more than just difficult to find. It requires an innovative approach in order to use the limited number of drivers in the most efficient way - combined transport.
An insufficient infrastructure, post-brexit immigration policies, and the Covid pandemic, have all aided in creating a deficit of 100,000 HGV drivers in the UK. Even those new drivers who are found, often find themselves waiting for weeks for their HGV license - an administrative issue which the increase in salaries cannot change. Many experts have therefore suggested attracting new, foreign drivers. However this, even if somehow legally feasible, would only postpone the issue at hand and not solve it in the long term. What can offer a true solution is the shift from road to rail and ferry.
What if you don’t try to adjust the number of drivers but simply use the existing drivers more efficiently? Combined transport is proving to be a suitable, long-term solution to the challenging industry circumstances. As long distance, late night driving is replaced by unaccompanied rail and ferry connections, drivers can remain within the UK, successfully managing up to 10 loads per week instead of the previous 2. This also comes with the significant advantage of spending the night at home, without relying on overnight stays in the cabin or a hotel.
This is what it can look like: a transport from Austria to the UK is loaded on to the train in Vienna, arrives at the port of Rotterdam, is shipped to the UK, and picked up by a UK driver to take it the last few kilometres via road to the delivery site. As a result, the driver is used efficiently (he can undertake this delivery plus another loading or delivery the same day) and your goods are transported sustainably!