According to UK driver job agency Driver Require, the shortage of HGV drivers has been caused by a number of colliding factors, including the exodus of EU drivers because of new regulations following Brexit; the easing of Covid-19 restrictions; and an increase in demand for orders and volumes of goods.
The entire food industry supply chain in the UK is being affected by the crisis, and no less so the baking sector. Some supplies of dried food ingredients destined for the UK bakery industry are running low because ingredients are taking longer to come into the UK, as well as taking longer to be delivered to customers.
As such, EHL Ingredients has announced it has had to remove next day delivery on orders and switch to standard delivery.
‘Won’t be long’
‘Won’t be long until this affects supermarket shelves, instore bakeries and bakery retailers’
“EHL Ingredients has mainly always used the next day service with their hauliers and this is under strain now as high volumes of goods needs to be moved across the country, and there is a shortage of HGV drivers,” said Tasneem Alonzo, joint MD of EHL Ingredients.
“Craft, high street and industrial bakeries are affected, too, and it won't be long until this affects supermarket shelves, instore bakeries and bakery retailers. Our pallets of dried herbs and spices, flours, seeds, nuts and dried fruits are among the ingredients affected by the delays.
‘Expect to see rise in costs’
Alonzo added that prices are stable at the moment, “but we can expect to see a rise in costs in the near future, as haulage companies are increasing salaries to attract more applicants for haulier roles.
“Driver shortages are driving up haulage costs, which have to be passed on somewhere down the line. These costs may be passed on to consumers in the end who may see their shopping bills increase in price.
She urged bakers to plan for all contingencies.
“We’d urge all bakeries and buyers to allow time for their deliveries – next day now means three to four days’ time, so planning is essential at the moment,” said Alonzo.