Dutch transport sector suffers from British shortage of truck drivers

They sent a letter to the British Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps. Normally the transporters are competitors, but because the problem affects the entire sector, they have joined forces.

Challenge and a problem

“The entire sector is noticing enormous delays, a shortage of drivers, a shortage of materials,” Susanne Dirksen of Schavemaker Transport, one of the initiators, told RTL Z. “The transport prices are getting higher by the day. It is a major challenge and a big problem.”

There is not only a shortage of drivers, but also, for example, crane operators and ground personnel. “As a result, containers and trailers remain in the port and goods are delivered late,” says Dirksen. “You end up in a downward spiral, because you can’t get rid of the delays anymore.”

With Christmas approaching, she expects the problems to only get worse. If no action is taken, the entire supply chain will be at risk, the logistics service providers warn in the fire letter.

‘Five thousand work permits is not enough’

They also propose a number of solutions. Dirksen: “Provide more work permits, for example. Last Friday the British government issued 5000, until Christmas. That is a drop in the ocean: there are more than 120,000 vacancies in logistics alone. Five thousand will really not help then.”

The major driver shortage is partly a result of Brexit. Tens of thousands of drivers have previously returned to Europe due to the British departure from the EU. Most of them don’t seem to intend to come back.

That is why the Dutch transport sector argues in the letter for work permits that are valid for at least one year and preferably longer.

Not just because of corona

“It is now October, people are really not going to work in Great Britain again for 2.5 months,” Dirksen explains. “Drivers do not even want to go to England anymore and that is really not only the fault of corona.”

In addition, Dutch transport companies would like to see an increase in the number of journeys that they are allowed to carry out as a non-British carrier in Great Britain. “There are now a maximum of three. We argue that this should be increased to five or six, so that production can be optimised,” says Dirksen.

The driver shortage is causing Dutch transport companies a lot of extra costs and pressure on deliveries, says Dirksen. “Everything will simply become more expensive, for the client and for the consumer.”

Continuously around the table

Logistics companies have not yet run into financial problems due to the shortage. “Because we pass on the costs. We are continuously working on this, every month we sit down with clients to discuss it,” says Dirksen.

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