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Walkers Transport in pre-festive healthcheck warning

Leeds based freight and logistics company Walkers Transport, part of the Palletways Network and operator of the northern hub, is today voicing its concerns that CPC training, coupled with a lack of young people coming into the sector will directly impact on workforce numbers and will potentially cause huge knock-on effects for businesses.

It’s advising companies to perform a ‘Logistics Health Check’ before the busy pre-Christmas period for peace of mind that their distribution suppliers are able to meet customers’ delivery and storage requirements as we move out of recession and into a more buoyant economy.

Demand for palletised logistic services increases from September as the Christmas peak starts to build. Previously, part-time and retired drivers would normally help but this option is no longer available due to the new legislation.

Nigel Jenkinson, Director of Walkers Transport said: “Logistic companies are facing pressure resulting from an increase in demand for their services yet resources are shrinking. Previously the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) an executive agency of the Department for Transport reported a drop in the number of new vehicle registrations and the number of HGV drivers employed now compared to five years ago. New entrants into the driving workforce have dropped from a high of 48,227 in 2005 to just over 25,000 in 2012 – almost a 50 per cent decrease.”

Professional HGV drivers have until 10 September 2014 to complete the required 35 hours training for driver Certificate Professional Competence (CPC) or they will no longer hold a valid licence.

Nigel adds: “High training costs, unsociable working hours with reduced overtime rates means that the sector is less attractive to young adults choosing their career paths. Add to this the issue of drivers negligence insurance that not only increases costs for us operators and reduces our already tight margins, it also impacts on young drivers who must hold their licence for two years and have done 180 driving hours to get cover.”

“Companies need to make sure that their logistic companies are prepared for this and have enough manpower to deliver on their promises. The industry is shifting to next day delivery as a norm and this only increases the need for a sustainable and qualified workforce.

”At Walkers we have put in a staff retention programme including an above industry-average pay scheme, flexible working hours and the very best in technology to make sure we retain and recruit the best drivers out there.”

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