Over the Christmas period, a peak in demand for transport operators and haulage companies, there was widespread media coverage on the critical shortage of HGV drivers currently available. The problem isn’t a new one, but it would be fair to say that the Christmas period saw the issue enter the mainstream of national media for the first time, and achieve awareness by the wider public.
The reasons for the shortage are many, and much has been written on both why the problem exists and potential ways to solve it. Issues such as CPC training requirements and the cost of entry into the profession are certainly factors, and in fact last week the Road Haulage Association announced that they would be engaging directly with the Treasury on the issue of financial support for individuals and operators training new drivers.
The Freight Transport Association are also heavily engaged with the topic, actively working with its membership and wider industry to identify solutions. On the 12th March, the FTA are running a one day summit focused exclusively on the driver shortage at The Ricoh Arena in Coventry. A sign of the criticality of the driver shortage issue is that all 600 delegate places have already been taken, with a waiting list now in place for those wishing to attend.
The summit will focus on the problem itself during the morning, followed by the afternoon sessions looking at solutions. I will be speaking at the start of the afternoon session, to talk about how technology can be used to attract and retain young people, who after all have grown up with technology playing a key part of their daily lives.
The perception of a career as an HGV driver is often very different to the reality, in my own experience and in that of many of my colleagues who I have spoken to about the issue. Technology is not the only area where a difference applies in terms of perception vs reality, but now more than ever a range of technology is playing a key role in the life of the modern transport operator.
For example from a Microlise perspective, every day we see the huge difference that telematics plays, whether that be monitoring and improving driver performance, powering incentive programmes, improving route planning and efficiencies, or any other number of ways. From a driver perspective, both the vehicles being driven as well as the tools they use to complete their jobs involve a wide range of often innovative technology, reflecting the modern nature of the transport industry.
Microlise is a sponsor of the FTA summit on the driver shortage and will have a stand in the exhibition space. I’m looking forward to what I’m sure will be a superb event.
Aside from the FTA summit, Microlise is also holding the Microlise Transport Conference, also at The Ricoh Arena on the 20th May. This event offers a great opportunity to hear from operators on how technology has impacted their businesses, as well as from industry bodies such as the RHA and FTA. Over 500 delegates have already registered for the conference.
For more information, or to register your place, visit www.microliseconference.com.