Wine and spirit businesses call for action over HGV driver shortage crisis

By BigHospitality

- Last updated on GMT

Wine and spirit businesses call for action over HGV driver shortage crisis

Related tags: Wine, Wine & spirit trade association

UK wine and spirit businesses are calling on the Transport Secretary to take urgent action over HGV driver shortages and freight disruption to avoid wine shortages.

Some 48 members of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) have signed a letter, written by the WSTA and sent last week, after rising costs and supply chain chaos have held up wine and spirit deliveries.

The WSTA says it has received multiple reports from its membership who are highlighting that importing products is now taking up to five times longer than they were a year ago.

Businesses that had previously been able to fulfill orders in two to three days are now experiencing shipments taking 15 days to process, it says.

Costs, meanwhile, have increased by around 7% by freight forwarders to account for driver retention, which the WSTA says is of particular concern for SMEs who are unable to compete with large businesses to attract drivers.

In the letter the trade association calls on Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to extend the temporary visa scheme for HGV drivers from 28 February 2022 to a minimum of one year, to ease the burden on industry and allow for a sufficient increase in domestic drivers as well as facilitate better routing of freight from ports and smaller UK-based driver networks for short-haul journeys.

It also demanded that the Government deliver regular updates on DVLA processing HGV driving tests and licences.

“There is mounting concern amongst our membership that unless urgent action is taken, we will fall deeper into delivery chaos.  48 member companies have put their name to our letter calling on the Transport Secretary to extend the temporary visa scheme and improve transport routes,” says Miles Beale, WSTA chief executive.

“We are already seeing major delays on wine and spirit delivery times which is pushing up costs and limiting the range of products available to UK consumers. Government needs to be doing all it can to ensure British business is not operating with one hand tied behind its back over the festive season and beyond.”

Related topics: Business & Legislation

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