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  • Courier driver shortage worsens during Covid-19

    Courier driver shortage

    Pre Covid-19, there was already an existing shortage of courier drivers, including Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) courier drivers. It's estimated that before the coronavirus pandemic, there was a shortage of 50,000 LGV drivers, as well as a shortage of standard courier drivers.

    With the closures of restaurants, unessential stores, and the rise of online grocery shopping, the courier driver shortage has been felt across the nation, with delays expected for a range of services including the food supply chain. Now with the added pressures of the recently introduced Brexit paperwork, delays may even take longer.

    How the pandemic has made the courier driver shortage worse

    The courier driver shortage has worsened since the pandemic began. Despite recruitment campaigns from large supermarket chain, Amazon and various major courier services, the regulations and testing capacity can cause delays for new recruits officially starting their role, especially if they require new certifications and training.

    Reduced capacity for licences and training

    There is particularly a shortage of LGV drivers due to the fact that getting hold of a suitable licence is becoming more difficult. Current test capacity is at around 60%, which means there is roughly a loss of 16,000 new passes so far due to the covid-19 restrictions. Training and testing drivers will continue to operate at around 60% until the vaccine is effectively rolled out, which is expected to be by spring 2021.

    There is also a similar situation with standard courier drivers. There is a shortage of trained and experienced drivers required to operate thousands of transport jobs that need completing. With training and testing operating at a reduced capacity, getting the qualifications and training will play a part in the delays. For more localised couriers the start-up costs for prospective drivers attaining the appropriate licence can contribute to the driver shortage.

    Increased demand for online goods

    With a huge increase in reliance on eCommerce and ordering groceries online, getting stock and items to warehouses, and then to stores or homes is taking longer because the demand for goods is exceeding supply.

    The shortage of courier drivers could eventually pose a threat to food supply if the increased demand for groceries continues, which is why it’s important to expand the courier driver workforce.

    Lack of appeal for new courier drivers

    Despite the high demand for new courier drivers, there aren’t many applying. The decline in applications is directly as a result of reduced appeal to younger generations. This is caused by a potential lack of understanding of the courier sector, poor reputation, long working hours and the long-distanced travel needed which could mean days or even weeks away from home.

    Even for those who do come on board, their training may be delayed, which means a later starting date and not enough time to pick up the increase in demand throughout the pandemic.

    There are also safety concerns with more courier drivers on the road and the high expectations for deliveries could mean more accidents – which is why all courier drivers need to have the correct courier insurance in place.

    The increased risks for courier drivers

    As drivers struggle to keep to tight delivery slots, there is the risk that all this pressure could lead to more road accidents. Businesses and individuals who do not have the right courier insurance or goods in transit insurance may experience significant costs and consequences if the right insurance is not in place.

    Although there is a shortage of drivers, the increase in demand could prove a big opportunity for courier services and drivers. The delivery industry is expected to grow even more over the next few years, as people make the switch to shopping online and relying less on high street stores.

    While looking at improving recruiting efforts, this allows couriers to focus on how they plan to improve services and the welfare of their drivers, giving them less pressure as the workforce expands. With increased use of courier services, this could mean higher wages to encourage new drivers.

    The main priority will be to ensure delivery delays are kept to a minimum while recruiting and training new drivers to help with the demand.

    As your services increase, make sure to focus on courier insurance and goods in transit insurance to help protect your business from any damaging costs that could slow any growth plans.

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