As a key organisation representing the chemical industry and its supply chain, we are writing to support the Road Haulage Association’s (RHA) letter on the shortage of HGV drivers dated 23 June 2021

We share the opinion that this a critical issue for the UK economy and for the thousands of manufacturing and process industries which are all dependent on road transport often on a just-in-time basis. Sophisticated and complex supply chains simply cannot function without an effective resource of HGV drivers

We recognise and endorse the causes outlined by the RHA that have exacerbated the chronic shortage of drivers. Vocational training and the acquisition of qualifications, including sector- specific areas such as the Carriage of Dangerous Goods, have been significantly hampered by Covid-19 restrictions. This can only exacerbate the current situation

A recent Chemical Business Association survey revealed that 62% of member companies were reporting capacity issues with road haulage in the UK and 76% were reporting similar constraints in relation to cross-channel haulage. This situation will inevitably worsen over the coming months as demand increases ahead of the traditional peak season later in the year

In addition to chemical companies, the Chemical Business Association also represents a significant number of businesses providing logistic services to the chemical supply chain using their own fleets of vehicles. Without exception, these companies report that they are unable to fill driving vacancies. This is resulting in delayed deliveries in addition to significant costs as vehicles are under-utilised

Shortages and delays affecting the key raw materials and chemical components underpinning much of the UK manufacturing and process economy are already showing signs of a slowdown in business activity which will ultimately weaken the UK’s economic recovery.

There is also a contingent risk to the supply of chemicals into vital areas such as water treatment and power generation, critical to the health and wellbeing of the population

We believe that there is a compelling case for Government action to resolve this pressing issue. We specifically support, the following proposals:

  • The introduction of a Temporary Worker Visa for HGV drivers and for this occupation to be added to the Home Office Shortage Occupation list; and,
  • A joint Government-industry partnership to lay the foundations for a more permanent solution to the issue, including the immediate and urgent need to establish a Task Force to which the Chemical Business Association would be willing to contribute

Yours faithfully

Tim Doggett, Cheif Exectutive

Co signatories:

Kate Mingay, Managing Director, Dakram Materials Ltd & Chair of Chemical Business Association

Richard Gilkes, Managing Director, Stort Chemicals Ltd & Vice Chair of Chemical Business Association

Philip Tarleton, Managing Director, Meade-King, Robinson & Co Ltd Howard Sellers, VP Europe, Agility Logistics Solutions Ltd

Trevor Mathers, Managing Director, Alfa Chemicals Ltd Joan Traynor, Managing Director UK & Ireland, Azelis UK Ltd

Jonathan Sellars, Managing Director, A-Gas Electronic Materials Neil Bowker, Commercial Director, Bowker Group

Reg Warren, Director, Hawks Chemical Co Ltd

Darren Budd, Commercial Director UK / Ireland, BASF plc Mottie Kessler MBE, Chairman and CEO, 2M Holdings Ltd

Jenni Allen, Director of Special Products & Marketing, BOC UK & Ireland Martin Cicognani, Managing Director, Richard Baker Harrison Ltd

Mark Brunt, Business Manager, Solventis Ltd

Chemical Business Association – Letter to PM