Lorry driver shortage: Government to lift rules on EU haulier deliveries amid supply chain crisis

Foreign lorry drivers will be allowed to make more deliveries in the UK as part of new government plans

Foreign lorry drivers will be allowed to make more deliveries in the UK as part of new government plans to tackle the supply chain crisis.

Drivers from the EU currently can only make two trips to deliver goods every week but the rules are set to be relaxed so they can make unlimited journeys within a fortnight.

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At a glance 5 key points

  • Ministers are hoping the changes will be in place by Christmas and the new rules would last for six months.
  • The lorry driver shortage in the UK - which is due to several factors including Covid and Brexit - has impacted supplies at supermarkets and petrol stations.
  • There has also been a build-up of cargo in Felixstowe that has led to shipping company Maersk opting to divert vessels away from the Suffolk port, while similar logjams have been seen elsewhere in the world, including in the US.
  • Retailers have expressed fears ongoing supply chain problems will result in higher prices and empty shelves into December.
  • The Government said the changes would apply to all types of goods but be “particularly beneficial” to food supply chains and imports that arrive from ports.

What’s been said

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The long-term answer to the supply chain issues we’re currently experiencing must be developing a high-skill, high-wage economy here in the UK.

“Alongside a raft of other measures to help the road haulage industry, we’ve streamlined the testing process and announced thousands of skills boot camps to train new drivers.

“These new measures are working – we’ve been seeing up to three times more applications for HGV driving licences than normal as well as a deserved rise in salaries.

“The temporary changes we’re consulting on to cabotage rules will also make sure foreign hauliers in the UK can use their time effectively and get more goods moving in the supply chain at a time of high demand.”

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