Chamber chat: Sandra Cottam-Shea
Lorries are very much an integral part of our economy.
Almost everything you touch, wear, eat, drink or smell will have been delivered on a wagon.
The logistics industry is the fourth biggest employer in this country and without it we would just grind to a halt.
However, this vital part of our social structure and economy is experiencing a driver shortage crisis. Why?
The average age of current HGV drivers is 53 and these ageing drivers do not want to be burdened with compliance of more driver training and the obligatory certification are leaving the industry.
The right age to ‘grab’ drivers of the future is 18 and eager for training.
However, the insurance industry is reluctant to offer cover for such drivers as their statistics show this age group to be ones with the high mortality/incident rate.
If they were trained as professional drivers that age group would show a significant improvement.
How many people of that age group are deployed into warzones dealing with all that it entails?
Despite having to have a measurable competency driving is not seen as a profession, it is still seen as a manual, hard graft labour.
Combine the above with an influx of EU drivers several years ago, diminished profit margins due to high costs within the industry resulting in lower wages, the sheer responsibility of driving up to 44 tonne of a potentially lethal machine etcetera why would you want to be a driver?
The future is in driverless apparently so why even bother train as a driver?
The logistics world is a developing and maturing industry that has many roles for all genders and capabilities and will need capable, responsible drivers for many years to come.
It is the industry to be in and with the driver shortage being as severe as it is now you know that your training will definitely guarantee you a job!
Sandra is MD of SCS Logistics in Morecambe.