As we move towards the final three months of the year, the challenge of delivering Christmas 2017 will be the top priority for many, if not all logistics operators and their customers – but some are rightly looking ahead to 2019 and the first post-Brexit Christmas.
If the negotiations keep to the current schedule, the UK will formally exit the EU on March 29th 2019, and adaptable logistics operations will be crucial to keeping supply chains linked with the continent, as well as responding to the changing nature of the workforce.
The Freight Transport Association notes that 13% of current HGV drivers and 26% of warehouse operatives in the UK are from other EU member states – something that will inevitably change if, as is currently expected, the free movement of people and labour comes to an end after Brexit.
At the same time, an ageing domestic workforce and new requirements on driving competency are contributing to an estimated shortfall of around 30,000 HGV drivers in the UK.
James Hookham, deputy chief executive of the FTA, said: “Who’s going to deliver Christmas 2019 without the EU drivers and warehouse staff? Logistics is so important to the British economy. If we want to keep Britain trading then we need to be finding ways to solve the existing skills shortage and not exacerbating the problem.”
Adapting Logistics to Meet the Challenge
The solution to a shortage of drivers is not necessarily to train and recruit more drivers – in fact it could equally be resolved by improving logistics efficiency to make the existing workforce sufficient.
As Brexit nears, more flexible supply chains will be able to work with suppliers and customers both within the UK and on the continent, while technological advances like autonomous vehicles may yet reach maturity in time to increase domestic capacity further.
Dramatic leaps are required, but innovation is helping to achieve those, with sustainable savings on logistics operations from warehousing to the final mile of delivery.
To find out more about 3T Group and how our 4PL transport management systems can help you to maximise your efficiency from your existing cohort of drivers and vehicles, send us a message via our Contact page or call 0116 2824 111.