We know everyone hates talking about the festive season before autumn has even had the chance to come around but, when it comes to the haulage industry, it looks like preparation will be key this year to avoid Christmas chaos.
Increased demand and driver shortages
Christmas is always a busy time for the haulage industry but hauliers, importers, exporters and suppliers are facing a number of mounting issues that look set to make this season more problematic than ever.
One of the biggest issues to face is the growing driver shortage crisis. The Road Haulage Association estimates that the industry is currently 50,000 drivers short of the number required and that this number looks set to increase as older drivers leave the profession – with no young drivers coming up to replace them.
One of the leading factors putting off new drivers, says RSA Chief Exec Richard Burnet, is the steep price charged for a truck license. “Younger people can’t afford the £3,000 it costs to get a truck licence. The government could help, but won’t,” he says. “They should support a truck-driving apprenticeship but are refusing to do so; even though they are forcing the larger trucking firms to pay the new apprenticeship levy.”
Emphasizing the driver shortage even further is the fact that the demand for haulage services looks set to be higher than ever this Christmas. Online sales during the December period are thought to be rising by 20% each year while an increasing number of popular sales – January, Black Friday, Cyber Monday – put further pressure on hauliers throughout the season.
These pressures combined with further worries about a lack of vehicles and seasonal inflated rates, could leave the unprepared in the lurch.
Build strong partnerships
The key to beating the Christmas rush, experts state, is collaboration. If companies and their haulage partners work closely to ensure efficiency is maximised, this Christmas needn’t be any more stressful than usual. Working together to plan in advance and come up with coping strategies such as the reassignment of drivers from other sectors to retail over the busy period, can all help businesses make sure they are prepared for the busiest time of the year.
That’s where specialists like Waller Transport come in. Our preferable rates on ad hoc loads will help our customers better manage seasonal finances while our unrivalled access to thousands of vehicles across the UK allows us to offer the flexibility, reliability, and stability needed to successfully navigate the Christmas haulage rush.