A report from the Transport Committee has stated ‘radical surgery’ is needed within the truck sector.

The report states the industry must fix ‘systemic shortcomings’ or risk government action.

In addition, supply chain issues should be fixed within two years, states the report.

Otherwise, say the committee, an industry levy should be imposed.

Specifically, it highlighted the need for sufficient drivers, workers and facilities.

Members also flagged up the need for high-quality services and better driver welfare. 

The chair of the Transport Committee, Huw Merriman MP, explained the situation.

“We urge Government to be brave and force the sector to get its house in order. 

“A Supply Chain Levy has worked previously to incentivise reform. 

“If the industry won’t deliver change, Government should do so.” 

Continuing, he suggested increased taxes “to those who produce and sell and make the most profits”. 

Responding, Logistics UK and the RHA spoke out in support of their industry.

For example, Logistics UK said that the Transport Committee report ‘ignores public policy failure’.

 The chief executive of Logistics UK, David Wells, clarified the position.

“Logistics workers are the unsung heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“For example, they kept shops, schools, hospitals and locked-down families supplied with goods and medicines. 

“To place all the blame for the supply chain issues facing our industry at our door does our workers a great disservice. 

“And, it totally ignores the role which the government and other agencies have played in creating staff recruitment and retention problems across the sector.”

Continuing, Wells argued that the industry had continued to invest, despite operating on narrow margins.

Transport Committee transparency

However, RHA’s response was more measured.

“We broadly welcome the report and the committee’s focus on the significant issues affecting the industry,” said a statement. 

“Its recommendations are in line with many of the requests we’ve made.” 

Specifically, Richard Smith, MD of the RHA said it was positive to highlight the difficulties faced by truck drivers.

“In many places, HGVs and their drivers are simply not welcome. 

“This needs to change.”  

Concluding, Smith stated: “We welcome measures that will improve HGV drivers’ experiences on the nation’s roads and the way they’re treated.”