Closed gas pump at a British petrol station: driver shortage with consequences
Photo: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP
The fuel is there - but it doesn't get where it's needed because the truck drivers are missing.
The British government is now promising increased efforts to address the driver shortage.
"We will put heaven and hell in motion to make sure that the bottlenecks are alleviated," said Transport Minister Grant Shapps the broadcaster Sky News.
The day before, the oil company BP announced that it would have to close some of its 1,200 British petrol stations due to a lack of truckers to transport petrol and diesel. At gas stations in London and Kent, queues formed in front of the pumps on Friday because drivers feared bottlenecks. It is estimated that the UK transport industry is currently short of around 100,000 drivers. This is mainly due to the fact that around 25,000 truckers returned to the European continent after Brexit and that the corona pandemic is hindering the training of new drivers.
"We will do whatever is necessary," said the Minister of Transport on Tuesday.
He used the phrase "whatever it takes", which became famous in 2012 and which the then head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, had used to calm the financial markets during the euro crisis.
The goal is that car traffic continues to run normally, said Shapps.
The government is working hard to change laws to make it easier for new truck drivers to train.
Because of the lockdown in the virus pandemic, 40,000 interested parties could not have taken exams.
As early as August, the fast food chain McDonald's had to remove milkshakes and certain drinks from the menus of its British branches due to problems in the supply chains.
Nando's competitor had run out of chicken.
Shapps said there was also a need to make the truck driver profession more attractive.
Great Britain has long benefited from cheap labor, mostly from Eastern Europe.
When asked whether the government would relax visas for interested truckers from other countries, he said all options were being examined.
Previously, there had been demands to allow visas for the entry of such drivers at short notice.
This should close the gap until a sufficient number of British truckers are trained.
In the short term, international drivers could help, even if it was probably too late, to ensure trouble-free logistics for the retailers' Christmas business, said a representative from the industry.
In the long term, however, you need higher wages and better working conditions for employees.
mic / Reuters