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HeavyTorque Issue Four: FTA



Skills shortages across the logistics industry traditionally hit hardest in the run-up to Christmas when more goods need to be delivered and services are stretched. Firms look to agency staff to plug the gaps, but that’s not always possible in a climate where skilled workers are scarce. Our latest analysis of professional drivers paints an improving picture of the crisis that hit the industry a couple of years ago when HGV driver shortage numbers peaked at 60,000.

The number has dropped by more than a third due to a rise in employed truck drivers and increasing salaries, which average twice the rate of inflation through overtime and bonuses. However, 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 on which employers can draw at peak times such as Christmas.

And uncertainty over Brexit is playing a part, as our deputy chief executive James Hookham explains: “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.

“The uncertainty about their employment rights and status once Britain leaves the EU is a major concern for businesses. 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.

“We also need better roadside facilities, especially if we are going to attract more women into the industry, and more help from Government with the cost of acquiring a vocational licence, which is often cited as a barrier to recruitment.”

The independent ‘Driver Shortage: issues and trends’ report, prepared for the FTA by RepGraph Ltd, calculates the shortfall between the number of registered HGVs and the number of qualified drivers is 34,567, back to the pre-driver crisis levels of 2012.

The report shows the average age of truck drivers has risen steadily over the past 15 years and currently stands at 47.9. But encouragingly the average age of newly qualified drivers is 34, meaning over half of those who took an HGV driving test last year were under the age of 35.

Only 1% of UK truck drivers are women, but they are still more likely to pass the LGV test than men.

The FTA will publish the report on a six-monthly basis to provide a clear bassline analysis of the state of the industry.


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It is with regret, that the HeavyTorque team have decided to take a stand based on an industry-wide ‘blind eye’ to the waste in the magazine and periodicals business.

HeavyTorque (#15, July 2018) was the final issue to grace the shop shelves, both on the High Street and across the travel network. As part of our onward strategy to adapt, HeavyTorque will now be distributed exclusively through controlled circulation and available through printed subscription.

Please note, this change will only affect newsstand purchasers. There will be no change for our loyal print subscribers.

Why the newsstand change? Quite simply, we can no longer (in good conscience) participate in a distribution programme that creates such an inherent waste of our precious natural resources – and money.

For those of you who have enjoyed HeavyTorque from the newsstand, we sincerely appreciate your business – and we would hope that you’ve enjoyed the magazine enough to consider a direct subscription?

Single Issues

If you prefer to purchase individual issues (one at a time), you will still have the ability to do so, both online (via the website), or by calling our offices +44 (0) 1572 3450872. Orders for single issues received before the pre-publication deadline will be mailed along with the subscribers.

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It remains our objective, philosophy, and goal to provide our readers with the best content available, together with stunning feature photography. We do hope you will continue to support our venture!