Great Britain has a large logistics and trucking industry, which makes up for the country’s poor rail freight infrastructure. If you are involved in the trucking industry and regularly have fleets that travel to the UK, this is your place to catch up with the latest news impacting the trucking industry in the UK. The issues discussed in this article should be familiar to truckers and logistics bosses alike.
Many trucking company owners voted for Brexit: lured by former chancellor George Osborne’s promise of cheaper fuel duty and more legal freedoms. Unfortunately, Brexit has been a nightmare for truckers. Access to the single market meant that truck companies could make money abroad with few financial penalties. There are now more checks and regulations on the border, which has led to huge queues at ports like Calais and Dover.
Another knock-on effect of Brexit being felt by the trucking industry is a shortage of drivers. Because of extra regulations governing how drivers from continental Europe can earn money in the UK after the country left the single market, drivers from abroad now find it far less profitable to truck in the UK. This has caused a huge shortage of drivers, which the industry is seeking to rectify by offering higher pay and better working hours to prospective employees.
The Road Haulage Association has estimated that there is a shortage of some 100,000 drivers in the United Kingdom. Brexit isn’t the only thing to blame. The number of HGV drivers has fallen by roughly 30,000 people per year for several years. Part of the problem may be the fact that older drivers – those that started working in more prosperous times – are starting to retire in large numbers, with no younger replacements being forthcoming.
Fuel Theft And Fraud
The rapidly rising price of fuel has led to an increase in fuel-related crimes. Fuel theft and fraud can seriously impact the operational capability of a company and undermine the ability of a company to make money. Several tactics have been adopted by companies looking to avoid being victims of fuel theft and fraud. The use of fuel cards and safety caps is common. The avoidance of truck stops at night time and the careful emptying of fuel tanks before rest periods are also common tactics. None of these tactics, apart from the use of fuel cards, make life any easier for truckers, but they do prevent theft and fraud.
Every major truck company boss knows that the end is nigh for fossil fuel being an economically viable or morally justifiable source of motive power. The logistics industry, however, can’t just stop because of the fall of fossil fuels: it needs an alternative. Electric trucks are being touted as the trucking tools of the future. They may, according to their advocates, finally allow the trucking industry to break away from a dependence on fossil fuel prices and environmental irresponsibility. Major companies like Tesla and Mercedes Benz have already prototyped seemingly sound electric semi-trucks, with several large logistics companies already signed up to purchase production models.
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