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World Drive for Britain! UK scrambles for truckers amid supply woe

10:05  24 september  2021
10:05  24 september  2021 Source:   msn.com

Supply chain disruptions: A critical window of opportunity

  Supply chain disruptions: A critical window of opportunity Supply chain disruptions are only expected to increase in magnitude and frequency. According to McKinsey, companies are expected to experience disruptions lasting at least a month-long approximately every 3.7 years. The stakes are high but those firms and governments that are able to anticipate and adapt to change stand to benefit. Specifically, companies that restructure their supply chains to be more resilient and agile will be able to thrive in an increasingly uncertain and interconnected world.

LONDON (AP) — In Britain, this is the season of shortages: Milkshakes were off the menu for weeks at McDonald's, chicken has been in short supply at KFC, some gas stations have run out of fuel and there are gaps on supermarket shelves.

Instructor Graham Bolger directs learner truck driver Cadhene Lubin-Hewitt as he reverses at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Lubin-Hewitt, 32, moved to the UK when he was 16 from Trinidad and Tobago and has been driving buses and coaches for about 10 years. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) © Provided by Associated Press Instructor Graham Bolger directs learner truck driver Cadhene Lubin-Hewitt as he reverses at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Lubin-Hewitt, 32, moved to the UK when he was 16 from Trinidad and Tobago and has been driving buses and coaches for about 10 years. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

The problems have several causes, but one stands out: There just aren’t enough truck drivers. The U.K. is short tens of thousands of drivers, as factors including Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic converge to create a supply-chain crunch.

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With the industry raising the specter of Christmas shortages of turkeys and toys, the government is scrambling to lure more people into truck driving, long viewed as an underpaid and underappreciated job.

An instructor watches as a learner truck driver practices reversing at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) © Provided by Associated Press An instructor watches as a learner truck driver practices reversing at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

“Driving isn’t seen as a 21st-century sexy vocation,” said Laurence Bolton, managing director of the National Driving Centre, a family-owned school for truck drivers in the London suburb of Croydon.

UK eyes visa change to ease trucker drought amid run on gas

  UK eyes visa change to ease trucker drought amid run on gas LONDON (AP) — In a U-turn, the British government is expected to ease visa rules for truck drivers to help fix supply-chain problems that have triggered long lines at gas stations and some shuttered pumps. The government said late Friday it was “looking at temporary measures to avoid any immediate problems.” It said any action it took would be “very strictly time-limited.” The haulage industry says the U.K. is short tens of thousands of truckers, due to a perfect storm of factors including the coronavirus pandemic, an aging workforce and an exodus of European Union workers following Britain’s departure from the bloc.

But that is starting to change. Bolton’s school has seen a 20% increase in applicants since the U.K.’s pandemic restrictions eased earlier this year, with bus drivers, laid-off hospitality workers and even former airline pilots seeking to retrain as truckers, a suddenly in-demand and increasingly well-paid occupation.

Instructor Graham Bolger directs learner truck driver Cadhene Lubin-Hewitt as he drives at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Lubin-Hewitt, 32, moved to the UK when he was 16 from Trinidad and Tobago and has been driving buses and coaches for about 10 years. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) © Provided by Associated Press Instructor Graham Bolger directs learner truck driver Cadhene Lubin-Hewitt as he drives at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Lubin-Hewitt, 32, moved to the UK when he was 16 from Trinidad and Tobago and has been driving buses and coaches for about 10 years. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

“It opens up the opportunities,” said 31-year-old Stephen Thrower, who works as a van driver but is training on trucks. “It’s more of a job for life.”

UK gas stations run dry as trucker shortage sparks hoarding

  UK gas stations run dry as trucker shortage sparks hoarding LONDON (AP) — Thousands of British gas stations ran dry Sunday, an industry group said, as motorists scrambled to fill up amid a supply disruption due to a shortage of truck drivers. The Petrol Retailers Association, which represents almost 5,500 independent outlets, said about two-thirds of its members were reporting that they had sold out their fuel, with the rest “partly dry and running out soon.” Association chairman Brian Madderson said the shortages were the result of “panic buying, pure and simple.” “There is plenty of fuel in this country, but it is in the wrong place for the motorists,” he told the BBC. “It is still in the terminals and the refineries.

As a trainee trucker practiced reversing a huge rig between orange cones at the school’s asphalt lot, Bolton reeled off the ingredients that have made for a trucking crisis. Britain’s departure from the European Union prompted some European workers to head home. The British government closed a loophole that many drivers used to keep tax payments down. COVID-19 lockdowns halted driver testing for months, stopping the flow of new truckers.

Countries including the United States and Germany are also facing a driver shortage. But the U.K.’s problem has been worsened by Brexit. Britain’s full departure from the EU last year ended the right of the bloc’s citizens to live and work in the U.K., making it harder for U.K. firms to employ the eastern European drivers that many had come to rely on.

The pandemic also disrupted labor markets around the world, throwing millions of people at least temporarily out of work. An estimated 1.4 million Europeans left Britain for their home countries during the pandemic, often to be closer to family. It’s uncertain how many will return.

UK: Soldiers to start driving fuel tankers in coming days

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Instructor Graham Bolger directs learner truck driver Cadhene Lubin-Hewitt as he drives at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Lubin-Hewitt, 32, moved to the UK when he was 16 from Trinidad and Tobago and has been driving buses and coaches for about 10 years. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) © Provided by Associated Press Instructor Graham Bolger directs learner truck driver Cadhene Lubin-Hewitt as he drives at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Lubin-Hewitt, 32, moved to the UK when he was 16 from Trinidad and Tobago and has been driving buses and coaches for about 10 years. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Britain’s trucking industry is lobbying for truck drivers to be added to the “shortage occupation list,” which would make it easier to recruit drivers from Europe. There are similar calls from Britain’s farming and food processing industries, which are short of fruit-pickers and meat-packers.

A learner truck driver sits in the cab of a training truck at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) © Provided by Associated Press A learner truck driver sits in the cab of a training truck at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

The Conservative government has so far refused, saying British workers should be trained to fill the jobs.

UK army to deliver petrol from Monday amid fuel crisis: govt

  UK army to deliver petrol from Monday amid fuel crisis: govt The British army will begin delivering petrol to fuel stations on Monday after fears over tanker driver shortages led to panic buying and forced the government to offer visa waivers to foreign truckers to plug the shortfall. The government has already made a U-turn on tighter post-Brexit immigration policy, offering short-term visa waivers to foreign truckers to help plug the shortfall. Fuel operators, including Shell, BP and Esso, said there was "plenty of fuel at UK refineries" and expected demand to return to normal soon.

“We’ve continually allowed our domestic market to underperform by essentially having wages undercut by people coming in prepared to do the job for less, and in pretty bad conditions sometimes,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told lawmakers Wednesday. “And that’s the wider picture that we’re determined to resolve.”

Laurence Bolton, the Managing Director of the National Driving Centre, points out different truck and vehicle categories at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) © Provided by Associated Press Laurence Bolton, the Managing Director of the National Driving Centre, points out different truck and vehicle categories at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

In an attempt to ease the shortage, the government has extended the number of hours drivers can work each week, increased trucker testing and “streamlined” the training process. One change means drivers no longer have to qualify on a rigid truck before moving up to huge tractor trailers.

Laurence Bolton, the Managing Director of the National Driving Centre, poses for a portrait backdropped by a sign on the side of a truck showing different truck and vehicle categories, at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) © Provided by Associated Press Laurence Bolton, the Managing Director of the National Driving Centre, poses for a portrait backdropped by a sign on the side of a truck showing different truck and vehicle categories, at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Bolton generally welcomes the government moves, but has concerns about the safety of letting drivers move straight from cars to 18-wheelers.

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“It’s just damn dangerous,” he said. "I don’t care if you’re the best car driver in the world — it’s 16½ meters (54 feet) long.”

Shapps said the situation is improving “week by week” as more new drivers pass their tests. But businesses are less sanguine. Energy company BP said Thursday it had to close “a handful” of gas stations because they ran out of fuel. Supermarket chain Tesco warned of panic-buying if gaps on shelves continue as Christmas approaches.

An instructor directs a learner truck driver at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) © Provided by Associated Press An instructor directs a learner truck driver at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

And Ian Wright, chief executive of industry group the Food and Drink Federation, said the driver drought is part of a huge structural shakeup of labor markets and supply chains around the world.

“It’s going to get worse,” Wright said at a recent seminar organized by the Institute for Government think-tank. “We should get used to the fact that occasionally empty shelves … is going to be the new normal.”

An instructor drives whilst training a learner truck driver sat next to him in the truck cab, at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) © Provided by Associated Press An instructor drives whilst training a learner truck driver sat next to him in the truck cab, at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

For trainee truck drivers, that’s good news. Wages are up, and some firms are offering free training, signing bonuses and other incentives. A driver for a big supermarket can make up to 50,000 pounds ($68,000) a year, more than many teachers, police officers or even lawyers.

EXPLAINER: Why and how the UK is experiencing a fuel crisis

  EXPLAINER: Why and how the UK is experiencing a fuel crisis LONDON (AP) — Long lines are snaking down streets across the U.K. as drivers struggle to fill up their cars, causing widespread traffic misery and worries over whether the emergency services can do their work. The British army has been put on standby to help out. And the government is blaming the public, urging people not to panic. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, people hear the word panic and do just that — panic-buying fuel on a scale not seen since September 2000 when a similar crisis brought the country to a virtual standstill. © Provided by Associated Press Fuel tankers are filled at the Valero Manchester Terminal, in Manchester, England, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021.

“It’s absolutely a drivers’ market right now,” Bolton said. “They know they’re in demand. And it’s sort of turned into a bit of a bidding auction for lorry drivers at the moment — which is great because it’s been a long time coming.”

Learner truck driver Cadhene Lubin-Hewitt poses for a portrait in the cab of a truck at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Lubin-Hewitt, 32, moved to the UK when he was 16 from Trinidad and Tobago and has been driving buses and coaches for about 10 years. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) © Provided by Associated Press Learner truck driver Cadhene Lubin-Hewitt poses for a portrait in the cab of a truck at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Lubin-Hewitt, 32, moved to the UK when he was 16 from Trinidad and Tobago and has been driving buses and coaches for about 10 years. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Cadhene Lubin-Hewitt, a London bus driver preparing to take his truck-driving test, started thinking about making the move when he got laid off last year because of the pandemic. News of the truck driver shortage convinced him he is doing the right thing.

Learner truck driver Stephen Thrower poses for a portrait at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) © Provided by Associated Press Learner truck driver Stephen Thrower poses for a portrait at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

The 32-year-old hopes to work for a big supermarket or delivery company, and says he doesn’t worry about the loneliness, or the stress. He finds long-distance driving relaxing, “like going to a spa.”

“I wouldn’t find it boring at all,” he said. “I’d just blast (the music) higher, and go down the road smiling and singing.”

Learner truck driver Cadhene Lubin-Hewitt practices a reversing manoeuvre in a truck at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Lubin-Hewitt, 32, moved to the UK when he was 16 from Trinidad and Tobago and has been driving buses and coaches for about 10 years. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) © Provided by Associated Press Learner truck driver Cadhene Lubin-Hewitt practices a reversing manoeuvre in a truck at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Lubin-Hewitt, 32, moved to the UK when he was 16 from Trinidad and Tobago and has been driving buses and coaches for about 10 years. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) Instructor Graham Bolger directs learner truck driver Cadhene Lubin-Hewitt as he reverses a truck at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Lubin-Hewitt, 32, moved to the UK when he was 16 from Trinidad and Tobago and has been driving buses and coaches for about 10 years. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) © Provided by Associated Press Instructor Graham Bolger directs learner truck driver Cadhene Lubin-Hewitt as he reverses a truck at the National Driving Centre in Croydon, south London, Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Lubin-Hewitt, 32, moved to the UK when he was 16 from Trinidad and Tobago and has been driving buses and coaches for about 10 years. Britain doesn't have enough truck drivers. The shortage is contributing to scarcity of everything from McDonald's milkshakes to supermarket produce. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

EXPLAINER: Why and how the UK is experiencing a fuel crisis .
LONDON (AP) — Long lines are snaking down streets across the U.K. as drivers struggle to fill up their cars, causing widespread traffic misery and worries over whether the emergency services can do their work. The British army has been put on standby to help out. And the government is blaming the public, urging people not to panic. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, people hear the word panic and do just that — panic-buying fuel on a scale not seen since September 2000 when a similar crisis brought the country to a virtual standstill. © Provided by Associated Press Fuel tankers are filled at the Valero Manchester Terminal, in Manchester, England, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021.

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