Definitely not Brexit! US, Germany, France and Spain ALL reporting driver shortages
Andrew Pierce calls for HGV drivers to be paid more
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Due to issues with shipping from Asia, shoppers could face a reduced range of products including best-selling items such as PlayStation 5 and Barbies. To add to the problem, meat processors are at least six weeks behind preparations due to labour shortages as a result of Brexit.
Global factors including port closures in China throughout the pandemic have had a major impact on imports around the world.
New visa regulations as a result of Brexit have been blamed for the lack of lorry drivers and food processors.
However, according to research by Transport Intelligence, the driver shortage is also affecting mainland Europe, with the shortage to be estimated at around 400,000.
Following the research, many have hit back at the claims Brexit was the cause of the driver crisis.
Former Conservative MEP David C Bannermam tweeted: “Definitely not Brexit then…”
The research found Germany was missing between 45,000 and 60,000 truck drivers in 2020 and the number is increasing.
The international road transport organisation, IRU, predicted a gap of 185,000 drivers by 2027 in Germany.
France has also faced a similar crisis with the country facing a shortage of approximately 43,000 drivers since 2019.
The shortfall in Italy in 2019 was estimated to be around 15,000.
The crisis has also extended to the US, as companies are trying to bring in drivers from abroad for the first time.
Jose Gomez-Urquiza, the chief executive officer of Visa Solutions, an immigration agency with a focus on the transportation industry, said: “We’re living through the worst driver shortage that we’ve seen in recent history, by far.”
Back in July, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Labour Secretary Marty Walsh and Meera Joshi, deputy administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, held a meeting with the trucking industry in a bid to improve the crisis.
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In the UK, Richard Walker, the managing director of Iceland, and John Allan, the chairman of Tesco, both warned time is running out for the issue to be resolved.
The British Retail Consortium, which represents big retailers, urged Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to help with the shortfall of heavy goods vehicle drivers by providing temporary visas for EU drivers.
Politicians on both sides united in the fight against the lack of lorry drivers and urged for the industry to improve working conditions.
Tory MP, Sir John Redwood tweeted: “Business can solve the driver shortage by raising wages and improving working conditions.
“Just recruit and train some more.”
The Labour Party agreed that the shortage of drivers could be easily rectified by improving the pay of truck drivers.
A Whitehall source echoed the notion and said retailers need to offer higher wages and invest in training domestic workers.
A Government spokesman said: “We have a highly resilient food supply chain.
“We have well-established ways of working with the food sector and are working closely with them to ensure businesses have the labour they need.
“We have put in place a package of measures to tackle the HGV driver shortage.
“Additionally, our Plan for Jobs is helping people across the country retrain, build new skills and get back into work.
“As part of this, we are streamlining the process for people to get their HGV licence.”
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