Driver shortage crisis 'may be easing' says Wolverhampton pallet boss

The worst of the driver shortage crisis could be over, according to the chief executive of one of the fastest-growing UK pallet networks.

Caroline Green
Caroline Green

Wolverhampton-based Pallet-Track’s Caroline Green said she had seen the “noise decrease” over the chronic lack of HGV drivers which plagued the industry in 2021, an issue which was amplified by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the effects of Brexit.

However, she sounded a cautionary note about the underlying causes of the shortages as fundamental issues such as the Certificate of Professional Competence test and poor facilities for drivers have not changed.

Meanwhile her firm is on the hunt for new forklift truck drivers.

Ms Green said: “We had a frenzy of activity and shortages around September, caused by people still being on holiday, the ‘pingdemic’ and ongoing issues caused by Covid-19 and Brexit all exacerbating the underlying industry issues.

“But we have definitely seen the noise decrease since then for a number or reasons, not least the significant pay increases that have been widely implemented.

“Things have settled down and we are seeing more tests coming through, although we’re yet to see any statistics which show how many drivers may have been attracted back to the industry with the better pay on offer.”

Her comments follow a report from Logistics UK which said the number of drivers leaving the profession had begun to ease.

The report also reflected her belief that more trainees were making their way through the testing system but work still needs to be done to make the sector more attractive to new recruits.

“However, my concern is many of the fundamentals have not changed. The CPC test is the same, the facilities for the drivers are the same and we don’t know if we’ll have another pingdemic,” added Caroline.

“With the emergence of the omicron variant, there is still a lot of uncertainty for 2022.”

Pallet-Track is holding an open day at its headquarters at Titan Distribution Centre at Millfields Road, Ettingshall, on Wednesday, January 19 from 10am to 4pm as part of its efforts to find more forklift drivers.

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