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shutterstock 210162409With a multitude of road works, a boost in economy and a certain driving deadline speedily approaching; we thought we’d take a good look at the transport sector this month.

Drivers needed

The shortage of lorry drivers in the UK threatens to impede UK economic growth. There are too few drivers to move the growing levels of freight generated by the current growth in the UK’s economy.

Given that 60% of all freight is moved by road, the consequence of the shortage will be felt throughout the economy, with late deliveries as well as higher costs. This does not sit comfortably with today’s multichannel driven demand for more frequent deliveries, shorter lead times and greater value for the customer.

Phill Brooks, General Manager of Farrall’s Transport, said: “The road freight transport sector is finding it difficult to recruit the new drivers that it urgently needs. Having cut its cloth during recession, the industry must meet greater demand for more loads to be moved during the current economic growth or the consequence will be felt across all industries.”

Many organisations in the transport sector have seen 25% growth since Easter – vehicles that were previously parked-up are now employed during the days and the nights to support this growth.

There are similar concerns from other operators and trade bodies in this sector. Estimates suggest that some 149,000 new drivers will be needed over a 10-year period leading up to 2020, just for our industry to sustain current levels of activity, let alone growth.

A boom for recruitment companies

Driver Hire, the specialist transport and logistics recruitment company has just had its best ever trading week in the company’s thirty year history. Strong demand for its temporary drivers and other logistics’ staff saw the company’s turnover for the w/c 04/08/14 climb to £2m. The previous best – which was set during hectic trading in the run-up to Christmas 2013 – was £1.95m.

Chris Chidley, Driver Hire’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Our success is being driven by a number of factors. There’s increasing confidence in the economy generally. As the vast majority of goods travel by road, whether it’s industrial or retail, there’s clearly increasing demand for drivers. And, of course, the fact that we’re at the peak of the holiday season makes it easy to see why there is such massive demand for our services.”

Companies like Driver Hire are set to become even busier come September, when the Driver CPC deadline comes.

The Driver CPC

Evidence from the DVSA suggests that the vast majority of drivers will have completed their 35 hours’ periodic training by the September 10th deadline.

The current figures show that nearly 800,000 drivers are engaged in Driver CPC and just over 564,000 have completed their 35 hours’ training. In July 2014 alone, over 1.1 million hours of training were logged.

The latest figures also show that 24,245,741 hours of periodic training have been taken by professional drivers since 2008.

With the risk of being fined and even losing their livelihood, drivers must stay on top of their training requirements.

Existing drivers were awarded ‘acquired rights’ that took their previous experience into account and allowed them five years to do their first block of 35 hours’ training. The deadline is now a month away and DVSA is urging all ‘acquired rights’ drivers to make sure they complete their 35 hours before September 10th 2014.

DVSA’s Chief Executive, Alastair Peoples, said: “We’re encouraged by the number of drivers participating in periodic training, but we urge all professional drivers and their employers to be aware of the deadline and make sure they’re able to comply.

“DVSA enforcement officers already routinely check the Driver CPC status of professional drivers. After the deadline they’ll be able to check whether ‘acquired rights’ lorry drivers have completed their training or are driving illegally. Not being aware of Driver CPC is not an excuse for drivers or operators and there will be no amnesty period.”

Transport projects dominate construction spend

Analysis of the UK Government’s Construction Pipeline – published by KPMG – highlights that transport projects dominate construction spend at £66.2bn, accounting for over half of the total pipeline value.

The report looks at the £116bn forecast spend by central and local government across 1,886 projects in three spend periods:

  • 2014-16
  • 2016-20
  • 2020 and beyond

The pipeline reveals that transport accounts for 57% of the total pipeline value and that nearly one-third of the total number of projects are in the South-East and South-West. However, by value, nearly half are national projects benefitting the whole of England such as HS2 and national road schemes.