Too many deliveries, not enough wagoners.
That's the word. And it's coming from all corners of road haulage.
Chrimbo's in peril. That's the immediate issue. As for the long-term, the bottom could fall out of the industry. What happens when a country's backbone can no longer do its job?
The HGV driver shortage - it's more or less an epidemic. And if it isn't remedied but quick, we'll soon have our answer.
Give me the figures...
Well, they reckon the sector's in need of between 45,000 and 60,000 drivers. By 2020, that could rise to 150,000.
As mentioned in our latest news article, a recent poll found that 54% of agencies supplying drivers to the sector and doubtful as to whether Xmas deliveries will be made on time. The same poll found that an unbelievable 98% of recruiters were experiencing a shortage of drivers.
But what's causing it? I'm sure more than a few possibilities spring to mind.
One major contributor could be the CPC. Since 2009, many older drivers have opted to retire rather than shell out hard coin to get the certificate and keep on trucking. In fact, according to Skills for Logistics, there's been a 45 per cent drop in drivers getting their license over five years.
The CPC may also be putting off new drivers. The training, as we know, can be a drag - 35 hours of PowerPoint presentations and trainers who only parrot the content is enough to keep away the most patient youngster. Chartwise, for our part, have been looking into ways to make CPC training more practical, more engaging, and more fun: and we'll be unveiling our new methods in 2018.
But enough bragging. Back to the subject at hand.
There's the long periods away from home - another potential dealbreaker. And then there's the desperate want of driver facilities. Tie these in with the general disregard for the industry - from both society and government -and you've got a pretty solid case against becoming an HGV driver.
It's not my job to persuade you otherwise, or to tell potential recruits that life on the road's a bed of roses. These are simply the plain, unfortunate facts. And they're unlikely to change any time soon.
Or are they?
While the numbers look bleak (in the UK, the average age of drivers is 55, and it's reckoned that 250,000 drivers will retire in the next 15 years), there are is a ray or two of light. And it's perhaps because of the continued shortage that a change may be just around the blind corner.
The longer the deficit persists, the more pressure's applied to the government. Already trade bodies, such as the FTA and RHA, have been calling on the State to take action, and if we consider the recent string of small wins the sector's achieved over the political class, rosier times might be on the horizon.
This, of course, does little to soothe festive fears.
But it's not for me to blow smoke. What do you think should be done? What's the best route off this thankless turnpike?
Make it known. Leave your comments where they belong.
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