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The HGV driver shortage in the UK is very real as evidenced by the difficulty shippers and receivers had keeping up with Christmas demand this past November and December (2014). A combination of driver retirements, new CPC training requirements and not enough students earning licences have created a perfect storm that needs a solution. According to HGV UK’s John Loughran, encouraging more students to attend HGV driving schools is not the only way to address the problem. It can also be addressed through technology and collaboration.

Loughran says that a research paper published early last year by the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight suggests that as many as one third of all HGVs on the road are without a load. He says this proves that the capacity exists to get more freight where it needs to go. What is lacking is the proper collaboration among haulage companies to ensure trucks do not run empty. Loughran goes further to say that a number of technologies already exist to facilitate collaboration. Now it is a matter of encouraging companies to collaborate with one another.

Combining collaboration with technology is not a substitute for training and hiring more drivers. The fact remains that the number of new drivers coming into the system is not enough to make up for retirements and career changes. However, even as the haulage and transport industries work on strategies to encourage young people to choose professional driving as a career, collaboration and technology could be used to improve the system as it now stands.

The goal is to make sure HGV capacity is maximised at all times. For example, an HGV returning home after delivering a load could potentially take another load with it. There are logistical problems to overcome, of course, but that is where technology comes in. Advanced computer software capable of keeping track of where freight is going, and where it currently is, could be the solution that streamlines the process.

New Driver Training

Nothing Loughran wrote in his piece seems unattainable. We hope that haulage sector executives will take a serious look at his ideas for collaboration. In the meantime, our task at the HGV Training Centre is to get as many students as possible trained and licenced. To that end, we offer more than 45 HGV driving schools around the UK.

Training to become a professional driver is not complicated in principle. Each student follows a basic, five-step process that begins with taking a routine medical exam and applying for a provisional entitlement. With those two things completed, it is on to training and tests. Students who succeed in passing their tests the first time can be completely finished and ready to work in just a few weeks.

We welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you might have about our HGV driving schools. If you are interested in driving coaches, buses, construction equipment, or other types of commercial vehicles, you can also train through us.

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