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Our Kent readers share their solutions to ongoing HGV driver shortage causing supply chain issues across the county


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From McDonald's milkshakes, Nando's peri-peri chicken, medical test tubes and now fuel – the entire country has been hit by supply shortages in the past few months.

These problems have all been linked to a shortfall in international delivery drivers thanks to Brexit and the 'pingdemic', leaving a huge gap in the supply chain.

Pumps in Esso, Boxley Road Maidstone, are now completely empty
Pumps in Esso, Boxley Road Maidstone, are now completely empty

Boris Johnson might have gone some way to alleviating the shortage by reportedly agreeing to relax visa rules so foreign drivers can take up vacancies.

But we asked our audience on Facebook to share their ideas on what could be done to recruit more HGV drivers from within the UK – and prevent even more empty shelves.

Currently, petrol stations across Kent are being swamped by motorists trying to fill their tanks while firms struggle with fuel deliveries.

With a lot of people heading out to queue for hours, many service stations have now run out of fuel completely.

The government has urged drivers to behave normally as ministers stress there is no shortage or need to panic buy.

Our daily question on Facebook received more than 250 comments
Our daily question on Facebook received more than 250 comments

This is not an isolated incident, with shortages across the food and hospitality industry making headlines recently. In August McDonald's ran out of milkshakes, at the same time Nando's was forced to close dozens of restaurants because of a chicken shortage.

With the recruitment of HGV drivers showing no signs of real improvement, what do our readers suggest is the way forward?

Our daily question on Facebook asked: "How do you think the HGV driver shortage can be solved?"

With more than 250 comments it seemed our readers were more than willing to chime in with their ideas on how to improve the recruitment drive.

Many comments call for scrapping the Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) training - this involves 35 hours of periodic training every five years.

The CPC training can be very costly for HGV drivers
The CPC training can be very costly for HGV drivers

Pauline Smith said: "Lower the cost of the licence as many can't afford it. My son would drive anything if he could.

"If companies could get them through the licence and a two year contract with them - that's what his bus company did."

Meanwhile, Dave Stig Kingslee said: "If I could find a company who would be willing to fund the course while employed by them, I would sign up today."

However, it seems the expensive CPC course isn't the only problem when weighing up a career in HGV driving.

Mary Valentine added: "As a lorry driver's wife, I would say improve facilities for these people who stay away from home to deliver goods for all of us.

Some family members believe poor facilities could be putting people off the profession
Some family members believe poor facilities could be putting people off the profession

"They do this without the privilege of decent food or showering facilities - why should they drop their standards for us?"

Ros Wherry concurred: "Agreed! My husband is away all week and although his lorry is very nice, the facilities he needs to use elsewhere can be pitiful."

Some of our readers felt the army should be drafted in to close the gap, with others calling for utilisation of the rail network to take the burden off the road.

Nick Waite said: "Move more freight on to the rail network for long distance work with onward local delivery- would reduce traffic and pollution as well as less wear and tear on the roads. One train could remove 40 or more HGVs from motorways."

Although, Karolis Is believes better working hours would be the biggest incentive for many to take up the job.

'Thirty pounds per hour isn't going to solve anything if drivers are forced to work excessive hours.'

He said: "Work-life balance is what we need – eight hours a day."

"Thirty pounds per hour isn't going to solve anything if drivers are forced to work excessive hours."

What do you think the solution is? Leave your ideas in the comments.

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