Truck driver shortage: UK supermarket shelves are empty

In fact, there may be a number of reasons that have contributed to the bottlenecks across the country. Above all: Brexit. According to the Road Transport Association (RHA), exit from the European Union at the start of the year plays a major role in the fact that an estimated 100,000 of the country’s 300,000 truck sites are currently unoccupied. “The driver shortage was already critical as many drivers from the European Union returned home for obvious reasons related to Brexit,” the federation wrote in a statement. There have also been coronavirus-related backlogs in the training of new truck drivers and measures against bogus self-employment rife in Great Britain, which has led many drivers to seek other jobs.

If there were bottlenecks in the past, British freight forwarders often brought in eastern European drivers on short notice to fill the gaps. This is no longer possible today, not just because of the pandemic: there has been a “points-based” immigration system in place since the beginning of the year, which was deliberately designed to keep EU citizens out of the country for relatively low-paid professions. There is a list of much-needed professionals, such as nurses, for whom exemptions apply. However, truck drivers are not on this list. Apart from that: why EU workers should embark on a difficult, expensive and unsafe British visa issuance system when they can find work more quickly and easily in EU countries like Germany and France.

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