The UK is currently suffering from major shortages in the availability of container haulage, with some carriers and hauliers fully booked for up to two weeks.
The shortages are mainly a result of a new European Union directive which requires all drivers to complete a driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) course. The CPC involves classroom training of 35 hours every five years, which can cost around £3,000, and all drivers were required to complete their first 35 hours prior to the 1st September start date. Although many hauliers have been well prepared for the legislation changes, which were announced five years ago, others simply were not.
Some of the older drivers who were close to or beyond retirement age have opted to retire rather than to go through the training.
This is compounded by the fact that we are now in a peak season period for import movements (July was 13% up on the same time last year), and also due to underinvestment in an industry known for its low profit margins.
Unfortunately, most of the carriers will still charge quay rent and demurrage even if they themselves cannot facilitate the delivery within the free time agreement (normal industry standard of 7 days).
Global Containers are pre-booking haulage before the vessels arrive, which is allowing customers to continue to receive containers when required, and without additional cost. However, we do suggest that correct documentation is sent to our office as early as possible to allow us to plan accordingly.