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New inquiry: Road Freight

27 October 2021

The Transport Committee is to investigate the immediate challenges to the effective operation of the UK’s road freight supply chain. This new inquiry, announced today, will assess the effectiveness of the road freight system and the Government’s policies in this area.

The impact of the pandemic and the disruption of global supply chains complicated by new EU legislation, have disrupted freight.

The shortage of HGV drivers (heavy goods vehicles) has been a critical factor, prompting the Department for Transport to introduce 25 separate measures to recruit more drivers; the Department has insisted that tackling the shortage is a top priority.

The shortage of drivers for large goods vehicles is not new. In July 2016, a predecessor Transport Committee warned of difficulties in recruiting drivers and a potential shortfall of up to 60,000 drivers. The report highlighted low pay, low hours, poor facilities and an ageing demographic of drivers with under-represented groups in the workforce.

Terms of reference

Send us your views

The Transport Committee is calling for written evidence that addresses:

  • Long-term and short-term challenges to the effective functioning of the road freight supply chain;
  • The potential effects of the Government’s policies and regulations on the efficient operation of the supply chain, including cabotage rules and drivers’ hours;
  • The effectiveness of Government policy in supporting recruitment, retention and a diverse workforce in the road haulage industry;
  • The potential effects of the Government’s policies and regulations on road safety;
  • Infrastructure, including roads, facilities, ports and airports, with a particular focus on capacity, resilience and interoperability;
  • The effect of border procedures on road freight;
  • Workforce skills, training and development;
  • Decarbonising road freight, and;
  • The extent to which the Transport Committee’s previous recommendations on haulage, including those set out in Skills and Planning in the Road Haulage Sector (published July 2016) were both pertinent and unheeded.

The deadline for written submissions is Friday19 November 2021.

Chair's comments

The Chair of the Committee, Huw Merriman MP, said:

“Today, the Committee hears from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Authority (DVSA) who are responsible for setting the standard for safe and responsible testing and driving. It’s also responsible for issuing HGV driving licences. The DVSA is part of the story of current disruptions to freight, but it’s not the whole story.

We’re launching a new inquiry which will go wider, exploring the supply chain and what is required to make it function effectively. We’ll look at the issues for which the Department for Transport has responsibility and the impact of the measures the Government has proposed. And we’ll return to the issue of the workforce and what is required to make to support recruitment, retention and diversity in an essential and valued industry.”

Image: Unsplash