“This could mean a return to rationing of staple foods”
Shoppers warned to expect empty shelves after candy maker Haribo became the latest known name to reveal it is struggling to get its stock to stores due to a shortage of truck drivers .
A perfect Covid-19 and Brexit storm has left tens of thousands of heavy truck (HGV) driver jobs unfilled. The Road Haulage Association (RHA) estimates that around 60,000 drivers are missing.
About 30,000 heavy truck driving tests were canceled last year due to the pandemic. Brexit is also part of the problem, according to the RHA, with many drivers unsure of their rights to work in the UK.
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German confectionery company Haribo, whose brands also include Starmix and Tangfastics, said: “As is the case with many manufacturers and retailers across the country, we are facing challenges when it comes to the shortage of drivers at nationwide. We are working with partners in the food industry to address and respond to this issue. “
Retailers have been complaining for months about delivery issues, including Tesco and Currys PC World.
David Jinks, head of consumer research at delivery company Parcel Hero, said: “We may soon be facing shortages as severe as those at the start of the first lockdown, which could mean a return to rationing of staple foods. .
“The reason is too obvious. Our analysis of government figures shows that thousands of EU drivers and warehouse workers are fleeing the UK to avoid Brexit regulations. This massive exodus was exacerbated by the Covid-19, which paralyzed the training of new truck drivers. “
In a typical year, 72,000 people train to become truck drivers, 40,000 of whom pass the test. However, only 15,000 were able to complete their training last year, the RHA said.
The head of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors added that the situation had become so bad that he wanted the government to have army trucks on standby to deal with the problem.
Additional reports by PA