Published: 14:00, 24 September 2021
| Updated: 09:10, 27 September 2021
A logistics firm is offering to pay for the training of new lorry drivers as the industry continues to struggle with staff shortages.
PML, which is soon to open a new facility in Lympne near Hythe, is looking to recruit eight new drivers to be based both here in Kent and at the company's headquarters at Heathrow.
Managing director Mike Parr says the business will, if necessary, finance the complete training for the right candidates.
He said: "The HGV driver shortage is reaching crisis point and the knock-on effect of this impacting on the supply of essential fresh produce and pharmaceutical goods is something that we at PML predicted six months ago.
"Lorry drivers responsible for delivering vital food and pharmacy supplies are without doubt essential workers, and we ensure that that as such, they are well rewarded when they join the company, not only by a favourable package of benefits but also in terms of providing best-in-class facilities for them to access whilst they are working to ensure their continued physical and mental wellbeing."
Logistics UK, the body which represents the haulage industry, says there is a shortfall of around 90,000 HGV drivers is placing unsustainable pressure on retailers and their supply chains.
The pandemic halted driver training and testing for more than 12 months, while an estimated 14,000 EU drivers are understood to have returned home during the pandemic and following the end of the Brexit transition period.
Alexandra Herdman, public policy manager at Logistics UK, said: "Recruiting, testing and training thousands of new logistics workers is vital to protect supply chains and ensure our supermarkets and other shops are filled with the goods the nation needs."
Government steps to ease the lorry driver crisis by relaxing rules on testing may not be enough to prevent shortages on Kent's shelves at Christmas, an industry expert has warned.
Graham Pask, south east area manager for the Road Haulage Association, said: "It will make a significant difference. But these measures won't be in time. It's not going to save Christmas."
Anyone interested in joining PML as a HGV driver should contact email@example.com.
As well as new lorry drivers, the company is also taking on already qualified or experienced truckers.