The chief executive of one of the Midlands’ fastest-growing logistics companies is leading a rallying call to government to address the UK’s chronic shortage of HGV drivers.
Caroline Green, CEO of Wolverhampton-based Pallet-Track, says solving the 70,000-plus driver deficit goes beyond what one company can achieve but can be tackled with the support of its shareholder members and the wider business community.
The long-standing crisis has been compounded by the triple-whammy of Brexit, the coronavirus pandemic and a huge spike in demand for home deliveries, issues raised by Caroline when she hosted Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden and Association of Pallet Networks chairman Paul Sanders on Friday, June 18, to discuss the industry’s response.
Pallet-Track is asking all its shareholder members to write to their MPs to raise the issue and solidify the message that collective lobbying is the best way to push the crisis up the political agenda.
Caroline said: “We are a dynamic and progressive business in a critical sector that has historically been taken for granted. It has taken a pandemic for many people to wake up to the sector’s far-reaching contribution to everyday life – but drivers are still under-appreciated and this is contributing to the significant shortage we face.
“To tackle this, we need to build a lobbying strategy to ensure the industry is heard by government – which is why we are asking all of our shareholder members to write to their local MPs.
“The logistics sector has more than demonstrated how critical it is to the UK’s infrastructure, keeping the wheels of UK plc turning during the pandemic.
“For example, the pandemic has caused a dramatic increase in demand for kerbside deliveries of everyday products such as turf and slabs, as householders embarked on lockdown DIY, with the ratio of home deliveries increasing from one-in-10 pre-pandemic to one-in-four today.
“Our challenge now is to maintain that level of business recognition and understanding as the UK slowly re-emerges from lockdown and promote the role of drivers as both attractive and aspirational careers.”
HGV drivers contributed to a staggering 27.8 million pallets delivered by UK networks in the last year, a 3.2 per cent growth year-on-year. Sixty-three per cent of these were next day delivery.
“The logistics industry is one which has historically had image problems for a variety of reasons, so if we can increase the recognition for its work in a post-lockdown world, we can go a long way towards addressing that issue,” added Caroline.
For more information about Pallet-Track, call 0870 385 0055 or visit www.pallet-track.co.uk.