HGV driver shortage tops hauliers' list of concerns for year ahead, new research reveals

Difficulty sourcing trained HGV drivers is top of the list when it comes to the challenges facing hauliers in the next 12 months, according to brand-new industry research published today.

In the latest edition of the 'Asset Alliance Group Industry Monitor', produced in partnership with Commercial Motor and Motor Transport, 29% of respondents revealed the national driver shortage was the most troubling concern for their business.

Next in line was the fear of a poor economic outlook for the UK with 17% of the vote, while legislation featured in third and fourth place: 16% were concerned about the effect of localised urban regulations, such as clean air zones, while a further 11% feared the uncertain legislative environment outside of the EU.

And like the general voting public, when it came to Brexit, there was an even spread of responses as to how it will affect the prospects of the UK’s road transport sector going forward: 37% of respondents thought prospects would be slightly or significantly better now the UK is flying solo, while 38% thought the opposite. The rest sat firmly on the fence.

Despite the challenges ahead, operators demonstrated a robust optimism when it came to business confidence for the year ahead.

Nearly half of all respondents were expecting their trading performance to be better during 2021 than 2020, as the UK aims to bounce back from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 'Asset Alliance Group Industry Monitor 2021' is based on a robust 625-strong sample from the readership of Motor Transport and Commercial Motor.

It provides analysis of key challenges – such as urban regulations, a national driver shortage and truck crime – and gauges the impact this is having on operators, both large and small.

There is also an in-depth look into expected buying patterns for the year ahead, from the numbers of new trucks anticipated to be bought to choosing the latest alternatively-fuelled models.

It is free of charge to download and a must-read report for those working in the road transport sector.

Fraikin re-opens its Bristol workshop

Fraikin has re-opened its Bristol depot in order to rely less on third party contractors.

It is hoped the dedicated workship will significantly increasing the percentage of maintenance performed in-house and help manage vehicle operating costs for customers. Keeping a closer connection with customers will also be a benefit of the re-opened site with should also speed up repairs and reduce downtime.

Darren Hall, Fraikin MD, said: “Though the standard of maintenance remained high after we closed the Bristol workshop in 2018, operating costs were consistently increasing. Re-opening the Bristol site is a great way of taking back control, allowing us to cost-effectively provide the level of service our customers expect moving forward.

Hall added: “It’s all about relationships, and when we have a vehicle coming into our own site every six weeks we can build a better understanding of the customer’s business and prioritise work accordingly. With access to our national parts supply chain, customers also benefit from faster repairs and reduced VOR times.”

In addition to the existing four members of staff at the Bristol rental facility – which remained open after the workshop closed – the new maintenance depot has initially created roles for four new technicians as well as a collection and delivery driver.