The ‘Driver Shortage: issues and trends’ report, prepared for FTA by RepGraph, calculates the shortfall of qualified drivers as 34,567 - back to the pre driver crisis levels of 2012.
This is attributed to an increased number of employed truck drivers and rising salaries, on average twice the rate of inflation, including overtime and bonuses.
However, FTA says the challenge for vehicle operators is far from over with only 530 unemployed drivers claiming benefit in August 2016, meaning there is no pool of qualified drivers.
Uncertainty over Brexit, poor roadside facilities for drivers and the high cost of licence acquisition are all impacting on the sector, says FTA deputy chief executive James Hookham (pictured).
“The report highlights the industry’s reliance on EU nationals, with more than 30,000 – 10% of the entire driver workforce – currently employed in the UK,” states Hookham.
“The uncertainty about their employment rights and status once Britain leaves the EU is a major concern for businesses,” he continues.
“We urge the government to ensure its Brexit negotiations afford special status to logistics and allow for this employment to continue so that the industry is not hit by another driver shortage crisis.”