Driver shortages have hit Felixstowe really hard. This seaside town in Suffolk is one of the most important UK commercial ports as it handles over one-third of the country’s container traffic. But currently, the port of Felixstowe, is experiencing quite a severe container logjam on a daily basis. Driver shortages, poor scheduling of ships and the heavy pre-Christmas demand appear to be the three main reasons for the chaos. Consumers may have to accept higher prices when parcel delivery services and couriers struggle with the on-going issues at UK ports.
Couriers And Parcel Delivery Services
The knock-on effect for parcel delivery services and customers is only too obvious. If the products are not coming into the country and distributed within an appropriate timescale then the more localised drivers are unable to do their work properly. There are already concerns about supplying petrol, christmas products and even everyday retail products to supermarket shelves.
Bigger Ships Cause Delays
According to recent reports, some container ships have been waiting outside of Felixstowe port for up to a week. Lars Mikael Jensen, the head of the global ocean network at Maersk told BBC Radio 5 of their own unique solution. They have been re-routing the bigger ships to other European ports. The fundamental issue has been the bigger ships take longer to handle. Smaller ships leaving from other European ports can be processed much faster.
The Government’s Solutions
The shortages of drivers has affected couriers and parcel delivery services as well as causing a catastrophic disruption of some business supply chains. The government has tried two main ways to find a solution to the problem.
(1) drafting in military personnel to help deliver fuel to petrol stations.
(2) allowing European short-term visa’s so foreign employees can commit to driving in the UK again.
Parcel Delivery Services Disruption
Couriers and parcel delivery services have both been hit by Brexit and the pandemic. Before the crisis, many HGV drivers working in the UK were recruited from Europe – perhaps because of the notoriously low pay in the industry. Then European drivers were forced to return to their home countries due to lockdown restrictions when the pandemic first hit the UK in 2020 .
Following Brexit, European HGV drivers found they could not return to their previous work. They had to deal with regulations restricting where they worked, and there was added bureaucracy in the work task. This in turn has led drivers finding higher paid work in their home countries.
The average age of HGV drivers is over 50. The industry itself does not attract younger applicants. In fact, the training courses themselves are causing issues. Courses can take several months, so any new employees wanting to join the industry, cannot do so overnight. All of the above factors have worked together to leave the logistics and delivery industry with a profound shortage of drivers.
Money And Training For The HGV Sector
The current issues have brought the on-going disputes about pay for HGV drivers to a head. Employees within the industry are hoping there will be a rise in pay. Hopefully, this will encourage those drivers with a HGV licence back to the sector and attract the younger community to a career in logistics. Capacity and speed of HGV training has increased now that MOD examiners are used in the process.
In the UK we expect to have a variety of fundamental and essential goods on our shop shelves. We expect to be able to order something through parcel delivery and receive it on the appropriate day. Here at Same Day Dispatch Services Ltd we partner with a vast network of parcel delivery services and global freight companies to keep business supply chains active and satisfy our residential customers. To get a quote for your project please click here