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UK milk processor warns of supply crisis as driver shortage bites

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The UK’s largest milk processor has warned that supermarkets in some areas are facing a summer of delivery interruptions unless the government acts to mitigate the growing shortage of truck drivers.

Ash Amirahmadi, managing director of Arla Foods UK, said about 600 of the 2,400 stores that regularly supply last Saturday missed deliveries because the company’s third-party shipping companies don’t have enough drivers. I said I did.

“Since mid-April, there has been a driver shortage, especially in southern England. It’s getting worse and our assessment shows that the food industry is now on the verge of a driver shortage.” ..

“We are already doing all the short-term things that can help us get out of this position,” he added. “We are still on vacation, so we expect this situation to last for about 6-8 weeks.”

Amirahmadi is a “difficult and frustrating” situation for customers, including all major supermarkets, and corrective actions may include daily but daily deliveries and fewer product options. I admitted that.

He added that some of the milk production has been diverted to long-lived products such as skim milk powder and butter to reduce waste.

Germany-owned Müller, another major UK milk processor, declined to comment. It operates more of the last mile distribution network itself than Arla, but may also be affected by a shortage of drivers.

Although the increase in the level of staff absence as a result of tracking and tracking “pings” was a factor, Amirahmadi said the shortfall was primarily due to tax law changes, the Covid-19 driving test backlog, and in the UK. Drivers from working EU countries.

Estimates of unfilled driver vacancies range from 70,000 to 100,000 in a powerful industry of 600,000, and retailers and carriers wage to hire and maintain staff. And the conditions need to be improved. Tesco, the UK’s largest food retailer, recently introduced a £ 1,000 Golden Hello to new drivers joining by the end of September.

Malcolm Wilson, UK CEO of Logistics Group XPO, said the industry needs to make trucking a “more attractive career choice” to fill vacancies and draw young people into the workforce. I admitted. XPO is one of Arla’s logistics contractors.

The government is discussing changes to the driving test process and another relaxation of the rules for driving tests. However, it has opposed the demand to add driving to the list of missing professions or to designate it as a skilled profession-both will open the door to drivers from EU countries.

In a letter to the industry last week, ministers said that while EU citizens “continue to be an important part of the trucker workforce,” the UK “rather than providing a special visa to this group. We need to train people who live in the UK. ” Worker”.

However, Amirafmady argued that increasing the domestic driver pool is a clear medium-term solution, but the immediate shortage cannot be resolved.

“We need them, so we need to create a condition for those most Eastern European drivers who left to come back.”

UK milk processor warns of supply crisis as driver shortage bites Source link UK milk processor warns of supply crisis as driver shortage bites

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