Trucking Overview

Insight from The Economist on The Trucking Industry

The Economist recently wrote a few words about the haulage industry, as a prime example of the problems seen across the labour market. 

Focusing on the contradiction in Grimsby between the high unemployment rate and the shortage of labour in road-haulage firms, the Economist raises three wider labour market problems: 

  • Discouraged workers
  • Unambitious employers
  • Small governmental help to increase employment

The road haulage industry faces a high lack of man labour by being short of 45,000 drivers. This shortage affect consumers as the haulage companies have to turn down work and risk freight not being transported in time.
The shortage can be explained by a lack of interest for haulage work, which implies long hours, unpleasant working conditions and low pay. Training and apprenticeships require a high financial investment, which some haulage companies are willing to pay although several remain reluctant to do so, since it is easy to poach employees trained up at their expenses.  


"Considering the haulage industry is experiencing a "market failure", the government needs to step in."


In recent years, the 70,000 haulage companies in the UK have lacked investments, with private capital being 4% lower than in 2008. The Economist speculates that this may be due to firms judging that improvements are not worth it when driverless trucks are on the way. 

Considering the haulage industry is experiencing a "market failure", the government needs to step in. Change may come with the current government talking about "industrial strategy" and improvement in fundings for truck-driving apprenticeships. However, efforts for change need to be extreme, considering that one-fifth of Britain's truck drivers are forecasted to retire in the next decades. 

For more information, visit the Economist website

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