Time for logistics industry to invest in new blood – Insider breakfastBy Adrian O'Connor, Business Editor
The East Midlands' logistics sector must tackle a shortage of heavy goods vehicle drivers if it is to continue growing in strength, an Insider breakfast has heard.
As many as one in five lorry drivers are over the age of 60 and not enough is being done to bring the next generation through to replace them, delegates at the East Midlands Global Logistics Breakfast were told.
The East Midlands central location serves as a natural asset to attract logistics operators to the region. But with more companies in the region, competition for the best staff both in the vehicles and the warehouse is fierce.
Cris Stephenson, managing director of Pall-Ex, said: "Small and medium-sized businesses haven't got the infrastructure to put in training themselves.
"That makes it difficult and they don't tend to bother, so they punch off other players in the same market. It's a small pond and it's getting smaller."
Logistics companies work with agencies to supply drivers on a freelance or semi-permanent basis.
"Major companies and smaller ones are relying on agencies to work with them and provide this training, and supplement it.
"We need to go further. We need to move a lot faster and contribute more financially to the industry to get the drivers' skills base back to where it should be."
Stephen Watson, head of product at Microlise, said: "Particularly for young people coming through and looking for careers, logistics isn't necessarily the most attractive.
"It has unsociable hours and you may only find out your workload during the week."
Lynda Shillaw, divisional CEO of property at Manchester Airports Group, said the trend of people living in the city centre may have had an affect on the size of the workforce.
"There's been a shift in the last decade with youngsters wanting to live close to where they work."
A full report on the East Midlands Global Logistics Breakfast can be found in the next issue of Midlands Business Insider. To subscribe, click here.