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Workforce shortage in the logistics sector becomes critical as 33% set to retire

Posted on: 07/10/2020

Logistics UK, previously known as Freight Transport Association (FTA), is campaigning for a sustained investment in skills and workforce within the logistics sector.

According to Logistics UK, the sector is suffering from a labour shortage with an ageing workforce and around one-third set to retire within the next few years.

With restricted access to non-UK workers and limited funding for training, Logistics UK are campaigning for the Apprenticeship Levy to become a Skills Levy, funding all quality vocational training and making schemes accessible for part time and self-employed to upskill. 

The organisation states: “Automation within logistics will change workforce requirements but HGV drivers will remain core to businesses for many years yet. Bringing in a more diverse workforce will be key to logistics future success.”

The challenges facing the logistics sector today:

  • 2.5 million people work within logistics

  • 33% of workforce set to retire

  • 59,000 HGV drivers needed


To meet the needs of the sector, the organisation is campaigning for:

  • Skills Levy to replace Apprenticeship Levy, allowing all quality vocational training to be funded

  • Future access to non-UK workers without salary or qualification restrictions

  • Better careers provision within schools

  • Development of suitable apprenticeships and logistics T-Level


Road safety campaign

A second campaign targets policy and governmental reforms to make the operation of HGVs and bans even safer than today. 

Current positives

HGVs have an accident rate less than half that of cars, even after adjustments to account for the higher number of cars on the road and the distances they travel

Since 2018 it has been mandatory for all new heavy commercial vehicles to have level 2 Advanced Emergency Braking Systems (AEBS), which automatically detect potential collisions and apply the brakes without any driver intervention

Priorities for improvement

  1. Professional competence requirement for own-account operators. Currently, if the goods in the back of a commercial vehicle are owned by the vehicle operator then it does not, in law, need to employ a professionally competent individual to manage and control the safety of the fleet. Logistics UK members believe this should change. 

  2. Allow recording of domestic drivers’ hours on smartphone apps – currently Domestic Drivers Hours rules are recorded on a paper logbook.  This should be changed to allow digital recording to improve data quality and analysis; this is already available for EU Drivers Hours sector.  

  3. Allow Traffic Commissioners to focus on safety matters – Traffic Commissioners are currently arbiters on environmental matters surrounding operating centres. These should be moved to planning authorities to free up Commissioner capacity to focus upon road safety.  


Increase enforcement of the van sector – Logistics UK members – particularly those who operate van fleets – would like to see significant increases in enforcement activity against vans.  A mere 0.3% of vans were subject to a mechanical check by DVSA in 18-19.