British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office has announced that temporary measures are being considered to address the shortage of heavy truck drivers. The visa exemption is expected to solve the problem, as local press reports said that the government will allow up to 5,000 foreign drivers to enter Britain on short-stay visas, which logistics companies and retailers have been requesting for months, but the government previously excluded. Reuters.
According to the British Road Cargo Association (RHA), Britain will need hundreds of thousands of other drivers if it is to meet the demand. Partially the shortage of drivers to leave the European Union and the coronavirus pandemic, as well as a year-long decline in driver training and testing.
“We are looking at transitional measures to avoid immediate problems, but whatever measures we take will be very time-bound,” the prime minister’s spokesman said in a statement.
Ministers have warned of panic-like shopping, and oil companies say there is no shortage of stocks, only delivering fuel to gas stations is a problem due to a shortage of drivers. However, long queues gathered at gas stations despite refueling after BP said it had to close some filling stations due to a shortage of trucks due to insufficient fuel reaching gas stations. Some Shell filling stations have also reported that wells have dried up, while ExxonMobil subsidiary Esso has also reported that a small portion of Tesco Alliance’s 200 retail sites have also been affected in some way.
EG Group, which operates hundreds of gas stations in the UK, announced on Friday that it would introduce a purchase limit of £30 (€12,500) per customer due to “unprecedented customer demand”.
Moreover, the fuel problem has flared up at its worst: Britain, the world’s fifth-largest economy, is also struggling with rising energy prices due to rising natural gas prices in Europe and a potential food supply crisis. Meanwhile, other countries, such as the United States and Germany, have a shortage of truck drivers, so it is doubtful how many drivers the British can find.
Britain says the long-term solution is to hire more British drivers, and the union says better salaries and terms are needed to lure people into the sector.