The prospect of a major breakdown in the distribution and supply chain where shops’ shelves are left bare of basic staples such as milk and bread is a real possibility if truck drivers fail to comply with forthcoming EU regulations, warns a leading underwriter.
A new EU-wide regime of driver certification of professional competence (Driver CPC) will affect hundreds of thousands of employed and self-employed truck drivers across all 27 European Member States with implications for all companies and organisations in the UK.
Andy Keane, UK Motor Portfolio Manager at leading business insurer Brit Insurance says that the ramifications for both the haulage industry and the UK economy will be far reaching unless operators take action now and current levels of Driver CPC uptake improves.
“The deadline for completing the required 35 hours of training is 2014 which may seem like a long way off but the reality is many haulage companies and drivers are simply leaving it too late.”
On current industry estimates, there’s likely to be a rush for training towards the end of the compliance period and this will have major implications for business continuity.
“The current shortfall in the number of training hours completed by those required to undertake Driver CPC is likely to exceed 5 million training hours by the end of 2011 and it’s predicted there could be as much as a 30 percent shortfall in the number of qualified drivers of vehicles over 3.5 tonnes before 2014.
“Should this happen, the impact on the UK economy could be devastating with a downturn in productivity coupled with loss of sales for many millions of businesses that depend on road haulage,” warns Keane.
Operators are still reeling from the escalation in diesel and petrol costs but the underlying implications for the haulage industry through non-compliance with Driver CPC is potentially far more serious.
According to John Davidge, Technical Consultant with Cardinus Risk Management, many operators have either stuck their heads in the sand or are simply unaware of the implications that this EU directive has for the future of their businesses.
“There will be many small-medium businesses that will be caught out by these forthcoming regulations. A couple of weeks’ ago I did a survey with a lighting firm in Essex that run a mixed fleet of vans, 7.5 tonnes trucks and cars and was shocked to learn that the finance director was totally unaware of the Driver CPC regulations despite the risk that failure to comply will have on the business.
“Many SMBs use a warehouseman or factory worker as a spare driver to cover leave or times where there’s high demand and unless they’ve received the requisite Driver CPC training, those drivers will no longer be able to drive,” he says.
Haulage and fleet owners must now rethink how they manage their businesses in the future and the issue is further complicated as the number of qualified drivers available (average age 54 years) is rapidly falling, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the UK.
Latest research shows that there are 299,000 vocational large goods vehicle drivers in employment, a drop of nearly 3.5 percent over the last couple of years (309,000, 2009).
Note to editors
Andy Keane is available for radio and TV interviews
A high quality (300dpi) photograph of Andy Keane is available on request
Head of Public Relations
London EC2N 3AS
T: 020 7098 6569/ 07909 934 228
About Brit Insurance
Brit Insurance is an international general insurance and reinsurance group specialising in commercial insurance. The Group writes a diverse portfolio of insurance and reinsurance, offering worldwide protection. The scope is wide-ranging: from small and medium sized traders to the largest multinational corporations. Our distribution model is centred on brokers and intermediaries. Reflecting where our customers trade, we are organized into three strategic business units – Global Markets, UK and Reinsurance – which have access to our underwriting platforms including Brit Insurance Limited and our Lloyd’s syndicate, Brit Syndicate 2987.