As a result of Brexit, Covid, and tougher border controls, the UK is currently experiencing a delivery driver shortage, which is, in turn, having detrimental effects on retail. HGV drivers are now becoming increasingly hard to come by, with industry leaders labeling the shortages as a crisis. With fewer drivers transporting goods to retailers across the country, gaps are starting to appear on the shelves. Find out how Shepper can help support your businesses through this by giving you insight into stock shortages and more – helping you respond to the crisis.

Why is there a driver shortage?

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has announced that there is a shortage of roughly 60,000 drivers, estimating that about 30,000 HGV driving tests were lost last year because of Covid. 

Additionally, drivers from out of the UK haven’t been able to work here due to Brexit, tougher border controls and inability to travel due to the pandemic. 

These issues are having negative effects across entire supply chains. With fewer drivers transporting goods to retailers, there’s a real concern that the country will soon see a ‘Summer of food shortages’. Deliveries are becoming delayed and retailers are starting to struggle to fill the shelves. 

The return of panic buying

“[There is] certainly a very real risk at the moment of some products not getting to shelves in time”.

Simon Stockwin, from Bretts Transport, in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire for the BBC 

The driver shortage has further implications that the country will see a repeat of the panic buying and stockpiling behavior that happened as Covid starting impacting the UK. Shepper completed research on the stock availability last year, highlighting just how concerning the problem was. With news that there will be less food available, it’s likely that shoppers will start to stock up on products while they can.

How the driver shortage is affecting brands and retailers 

The problem has been gradually growing over the coming weeks, with brands and retailers starting to experience difficulties getting enough products on the shelves. Haribo has stated that they are having problems delivering stock and has had to respond by cancelling their planned promotions to help protect availability.

“As is the case with many manufacturers and retailers throughout the country, we are experiencing challenges with regards to the nationwide driver shortage,” a spokesperson said. “We are working with partners across the food and drink industry to address and respond to this problem.”

Haribo spokesperson

The industry is also likely to struggle to meet environmental or holiday events that see a surge in demand for certain types of products. As the country is set for another heatwave, there will likely be a high demand for salads, BBQ food items, and ice cream. 

Small, independent, and convenience stores are also being hit hard by the driver shortage as wholesalers struggle to fill their shelves. As the demand for local shopping has increased, this is set to create a real issue for small businesses looking to recover after the pandemic.

One wholesale source told The Grocer: “There is a real crisis here. Just as small family wholesalers start to recover, they can’t access key stock needed for customers in the summer of staycation. The government does not seem interested in recognising anything that might be Brexit-downside. Their hubris needs to stop and emergency measures are undertaken to sort out this food crisis.”

How Shepper can help

To find out how Shepper can help you get a clear view of what’s going on in-store by checking stock availability in stores across the country, get in touch with one of our Advisors today. Our network of local people, who we call Shepherds, are your flexible workforce who collect data quickly and efficiently. We feed the data into comprehensive and user-friendly dashboards so you can see quickly identify and action any problem areas.

Try Shepper for free