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July 30, 2021

Arla Foods warns of UK milk shortages from dearth of HGV drivers

The UK government has announced measures to try and address the shortage of drivers.

The boss of the UK unit of European dairy giant Arla Foods has warned of a summer of disruption to fresh milk supplies as a shortage of haulage drivers curtails its ability to deliver to major supermarkets.

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Arla’s UK managing director Ash Amirahmadi told the BBC today (30 July) the business had suffered from a driver shortage since April, and was unable to deliver milk last Saturday to 600 of the daily 2,400 stores it services.

“It’s very worrying for customers when they go into shops and find that the shelves are empty. Our assessment is that we’re in a driver shortage crisis and therefore we’re asking for the industry and Government to work together to recognise we’re in a crisis and actually address the issue,” Amirahmadi said in an interview with the broadcaster.

The Government last week revealed plans to streamline the process for new drivers to gain their heavy goods vehicle (HGV) licence following industry complaints about an acute shortage of large truck delivery drivers.

In an open letter to the road haulage industry, signed by ministers including Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Environment Secretary George Eustice, the Government has pledged to ease driver qualification requirements to tackle the current shortage.

The problem was highlighted in a letter sent by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) to Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the end of June. It was countersigned by Ian Wright, the chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), Nick Allen, the chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) and Richard Harrow, the chief executive the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF).

The letter warned of supermarket delivery issues leading to empty shelves unless action was taken.

Amirahmadi stressed the plans should be accelerated. “Unfortunately at the moment, there’s about 10% of the stores every day that we can’t deliver to. At the weekend, it’s worse,” adding it would be “tough and challenging” to get through the summer.

He told the BBC Arla had agreed to increase the salaries of third-party hauliers, and was even offering a GBP2,000 (US$2,792) bonus if they were prepared to work weekends. And the issue is likely to get worse through the summer holidays, he said.

“We’re trying to avoid a summer of disruption. By how much, we cannot fully predict, but I think that’s why we really need to take bold action in time for the summer. The food is there in the factories, it’s just about getting it to the shops. So that’s our key problem.”

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Free Whitepaper
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What is the impact of historically high inflation on the UK consumer landscape?

The average UK consumer is experiencing a severe cost-of living crisis as inflation surges to a forty-year high and the price of goods continues to rise. This shock is the result of the sharply increasing costs of commodities, energy, and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and is threatening FMCG manufacturers, retailers, and foodservice operators’ ability to survive and grow. Inflation will have a profound effect on many consumer-facing industries in 2022 and beyond. Consult GlobalData’s new whitepaper, Inflation in the UK: The Impact of Historically High Inflation on the UK Consumer Landscape, to better understand shifts in consumer behavior and their impact on spending patterns, as well as the implications for UK businesses. This whitepaper covers:  
  • Why has global inflation returned with a vengeance?
  • What is the current inflation situation in the UK?
  • What impact is inflation having on UK retail sales?
  • What tactics are businesses relying on to tackle the effects of high inflation?
  • How are consumers changing their behaviors to cope with the higher cost of living?
  • Which industry sectors are most vulnerable to reduced consumer demand?
  • How is the government responding to high inflation?
  • How long will high inflation last in the UK?
  • How can your company survive and thrive in a high inflation environment?
Enter your details here to receive your free whitepaper and ready your business for these increasingly uncertain times.
by GD50 Custom
Enter your details here to receive your free Whitepaper.

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