UK supply woes on driver shortages could hit public health, environment - CBA

Author: Jonathan Lopez

2021/09/08

LONDON (ICIS)--The UK’s shortage of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers has been greatly aggravated since June, with nearly all the chemicals distributors surveyed by trade group CBA reporting shortages of drivers in August.

The trade group’s latest industry survey showed 96% of companies reporting problems with road haulage in the UK, up sharply from the 62% which reported problems in June.

In Europe as a whole, 78% of companies reported problems with road haulage.

The UK’s Chemical Business Association (CBA) said it was concerned that shortages of drivers could affect key chemicals’ end-use sectors, which are key for health and safety.

“Supplies of chemicals to key business sectors, such as water treatment, fuel, and oil additives are likely to suffer from delayed or cancelled deliveries resulting in consequences for public health, the environment, and economic growth,” said the CBA in a briefing on Tuesday.

The trade group’s CEO, Tim Doggett, warned that the situation is likely to worsen in the coming months. The CBA has asked the UK government for a looser hand in granting work visas to foreign truck drivers, but its demands have not been met.

In July, the UK cabinet relaxed rules on maximum hours truck drivers can work, a measure CBA considered at the time counterproductive and unlikely to fix the root problem.

“Our expertise and focus continues to remain within the chemical supply chain and we believe the impact of driver shortages is likely to get worse before it gets better,” said Doggett.

“As regulatory changes to the treatment of water do not fall within our remit, we are unable to comment further on this particular aspect.”