The Importance of EU Drivers post-Brexit

Monday, September 7, 2020

The current HGV driver shortage is one of the most significant challenges facing the transport sector, with an estimated deficit of 59,000 drivers.  Reasons given for the shortfall include an ageing workforce, low unemployment and difficulties in attracting younger people into the industry; however, a significant and growing reason includes a reduction in EU net migration, specifically in response to the UK’s proposed immigration policy changes, post-Brexit.  We are not immune to these pressures at Acclaim, with our team of drivers including several EU nationals who will be affected by the policy changes resulting from Brexit. 

Statistics from the Freight Transport Association’s Logistics Skills Report 2019 have shown that since Brexit plans were announced in 2017, the reduction in EU drivers has contributed to a 43% rise in transport and storage industry job vacancies. Head of Skills Campaign at FTA Sally Gilson commented:

“The logistics sector is facing serious challenges in the recruitment and retention of labour… Businesses within the logistics sector are reliant on access to EU workers to help fill job vacancies; these workers currently constitute 13% of the entire logistics workforce.

The logistics sector is the lifeblood of the nation’s economy… without adequate levels of staff, operations will come crashing to a halt and businesses will cease trading.”

Immigration and Brexit

Whilst UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has displayed interest in an Australian-style points-based immigration policy post-Brexit, it is important to consider the immigrant workers who contribute to the UK’s haulage industry, providing functional and practical services which are vital to the country’s economic wellbeing. The number of EU nationals moving to the EU for work is now 50% lower than statistics from June 2015-2016, and the FTA are urging government to reform its future immigration policies to ensure Brexit doesn’t exacerbate the logistics industry’s crippling skills shortage.

Next Steps

To encourage new talent into the haulage and logistics industry, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) has unveiled a national training programme, Road to Logistics, which focuses on training individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds as well as the long-term unemployed and ex-offenders. Offering classroom based as well as practical training, the programme gives individuals the opportunity to gain a Category C (Class 2) and Category C+E (Class 1) licence with ongoing support in finding a role as a driver.

The RHA hopes that this programme will help change public perceptions of the role of a HGV driver and will encourage people to become part of an industry that has been hugely affected by Brexit.

If you would like more information on how you can become a HGV driver, click here.

About Us

Established in 1993, Acclaim Logistics is an independently owned and managed freight carrier, with a fleet of over 40 vehicles and a large network of approved international freight forwarders. We offer a range of distribution services, ranging from same day deliveries to full artic loads, and are members of the Palletways and Palletline pallet networks, and APC Overnight (parcel network).  With locations in both Cowes and Totton, we specialise in the transportation of freight to and from the Isle of Wight. 

To join our team or enquire about our logistics services, contact us on: 023 8086 0722 or email: