It’s that time of year again, and we want to ask you a question. Did you go online this year to buy Christmas presents for your loved ones? For a staggering 90% of people in the UK, the answer is yes. So if we assume just 1 present bought online by each adult in the UK, that’s 65.1 million parcels to be packed up and delivered across the country. But of course, it’s really much more than that, with many people ordering 5-10 parcels – or even more – online for delivery over the Christmas period. That’s an awful lot of deliveries to be made, and a shortage of 50,000 lorry drivers in the UK this year means that Santa’s sleigh is in danger of missing some deadlines.
How Online Shopping Changed Lorry Deliveries Forever
Over the last 10 years, online shopping has gone from being used for hard to find things to an everyday commodity. Online shopping services have flourished in the last decade, and now we find ourselves in the age of being able to buy online and have our purchase delivered to our home within the hour. It’s no surprise that Christmas shopping has migrated from wondering round the shops to sitting in front of the computer. In fact, last year as much as 90% of 2000 people in England surveyed said they did at least some of their Christmas shopping online. 42% did some online, 38% did most online, 9% shopped exclusively online and just 10% did no online shopping at all. The majority of people cited wanting to avoid the hectic Christmas crowds as the reason they switched to online, with not wanting to carry heavy shopping bags, deal with over-enthusiastic sales people or listen to endless Christmas songs coming in a close second. So online retailers are constantly competing for who can have the cheapest, fastest deliveries, and that puts a lot of strain on the freight and haulage industry.
But What’s Caused A Lorry Driver Shortage?
Despite the dramatic increase in online spending – and thus the need for extra deliveries, it’s not the Christmas period alone that’s caused the driver shortage. The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has stated that the industry is short between 45,000 and 50,000 lorry drivers, and the situation is getting worse every year. They say that the dramatic shortage is due to thousands of older drivers retiring or leaving the industry, with not enough younger drivers joining to replace them. With the costs for getting a basic license to drive a lorry totalling around £3000, they think the problem isn’t interest, but the fact that young people simply can’t afford to become lorry drivers any more.
The RHA is in the process of arguing for a lorry and truck driving apprenticeship to be supported by the government, especially since many larger firms are already being forced to pay the new apprenticeship levy. So far they have been unsuccessful, but they remain hopeful for improvement. Since over 85% of all goods bought in the UK are carried by lorry at some stage in the supply chain, they hope the government will help them develop a way to make it easier for young people to become part of the freight and haulage industry, reducing the strain on the already overworked drivers.
There are currently 3.5 million delivery vans registered in the UK and around 40,000 delivery drivers, but with the rising demand for online deliveries the haulage industry is discovering it’s still not enough. If you’re interested in becoming a lorry driver and helping sustain the lifeblood industry for this country, get in touch with us today and we will help you on your way.