RHA on BBC news: We have plenty of food, but not enough HGV drivers to deliver it 

Rod McKenzie told BBC News that we're seeing empty supermarket shelves not due to a lack of food, but a lack of HGV drivers 

Josh Reynolds

Josh Reynolds | 6th July 2021 12:55 PM

The UK’s HGV driver shortage continues to cause problems for businesses and consumers, as shortages on shelves continue to blight stores.

German confectionery giant Haribo recently confirmed that its struggling to deliver sweets to shops in the UK because of a shortage of lorry drivers.

RHA managing director Rod McKenzie told BBC News about the cause of this shortage of sweets – and dozens of other products – explaining that it was not down to a lack of food, but a lack of HGV drivers.

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We have estimated that the UK is short of around 100,000 HGV drivers, if we’re to ensure that goods can get to where they’re needed, when they’re needed.

The UK has had too few HGV drivers for years, but the combination of the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit, and other factors have created a ‘perfect storm’.

As Rod explained on GB News, 95 per cent of everything we have in the UK is moved on the back of a lorry at some point.

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We have called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to take action on the HGV driver shortage before the crisis gets worse.

The letter was signed by 22 business leaders, representing the producers and distributors of foods and drinks, energy suppliers and many other familiar names in the logistics sector, and laid out some of the leading causes of the current driver shortage crisis, as well as calling for action to be taken to help alleviate the issue.

These actions include:
The introduction of a temporary worker visa for HGV drivers and for this occupation to be added to the Home Office Shortage Occupation List,
A taskforce to be immediately established to include representation from all the relevant areas of Government and industry to help drive this change at the pace that is so desperately needed,
• Re-establishing the DEFRA Food Resilience Industry Forum, chaired by Chris Tyas, which helped to ensure the nation’s supply integrity throughout the pandemic.

As the summer holidays draw near and lockdown restrictions relax, pressure on the industry will increase and the producers of goods will be faced with having stock of goods they can’t get moved.

You can view the letter here.