A report published by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) lays bare the skills shortage that could get worse if the transport sector supply chain is denied access to European workers.
The organisation, which is the leading voice for the logistics sector, has published an independent industry report that looks at the skills shortages.
According to the skills shortage report, the issue of hiring HGV drivers is highlighted; Sally Gilson at the Association said that the sector is currently in need of 52,000 extra drivers to be fully operational and keep up with business demands.
These damning figures come at a time when the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal seeks to end free movement and place a greater priority on those EU workers that are deemed ‘high-skilled’.
This follows recommendations from the Migration Advisory committee to restrict lower-skilled immigration.
The logistics sector and many others within transport are heavily reliant on these employees though.
And Sally Gilson is understandably concerned that the skills shortage will be exacerbated if the current plans are set in stone.
She said: “Having the freedom to recruit from across the EU has helped to keep our lorries and vans on the road but with uncertainty surrounding the parameters of a future immigration system, the logistics sector is concerned that there just won’t be enough drivers available to transport the goods and raw materials the UK is reliant upon.”
As it stands, 12% of the UK’s logistics workforce consists of EU workers; despite this boost, the sector is suffering from significant skills shortages – something that is the case in many other service industries and sectors such as construction.
The strain that Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal will put on this is difficult to measure, but it is certain that the loss of workers will heap even greater pressure on careers within logistics such as HGV and van drivers.