The government has announced plans to relax rules on the number of deliveries foreign drivers can make in attempts to help the logistics industry in what’s expected to be an extremely difficult Christmas period. As rules are expected to be lifted in December, many companies and industry experts have warned that these changes have come too little, too late to have any effect.
Midland Pallet Trucks, a provider of high-quality manual handling equipment including pallet trucks, manual stacker trucks and lift tables, has raised concern about the issues being faced by warehouses and logistics firms. These issues come after the industry has faced massive setbacks in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit rules.
The supplier has called on the government to recognise the two-pronged issue facing the industry. The shortage of lorry drivers has caused havoc for warehouses and logistics firms, but the potentially larger issue comes from the borders where ports becoming overwhelmed with the backlog of containers that can’t be moved.
According to insiders, shipping lines have started to close as ports become unable to accept new containers until the current backlog has been shifted. Many ports are now imposing daily penalties of up to £500 on shipping companies to cover diversion charges that include vehicle, trailer, and driver costs.
As retailers and shoppers are urged to buy gifts early to avoid disappointment, the warehousing and logistics industry simply does not have the resources to fulfil orders in this current climate, despite the Government’s promise of assistance.
Phil Chesworth, Managing Director of Midland Pallet Trucks says, “We’re glad that the Government is starting to take action to help our industry, but unfortunately it’s come too little too late. We know from our customers that demand is already rising and they simply don’t have the drivers or warehousing staff to deal with it. To plan for a successful Christmas period, we need lorry drivers and help at the ports now, not in December when many of our customers would have already lost their customers and contracts.”
He continues, “The problem at the border is becoming a big issue, a container that would cost $3,000 two years ago is now costing our customers close to $22,000—it’s seriously impacting our great British businesses that are already trying as hard as they can to stay afloat.”
New government rules will allow foreign drivers to make unlimited deliveries or collections over a 14-day period to help ease pressure on supply chains, currently they are only allowed to make two pick-ups or drop-offs a week.