Whatever your thoughts over Brexit, it’s hard to deny that the timing of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and the unforeseen coronavirus pandemic has been a perfect storm for financial and economic challenges. The transport and logistics industries have been hit hard by this combination of tough situations making this a particularly difficult and frustrating time for many.
From delays and extra paperwork, to self-isolation and staffing shortages, drivers and fleet operators alike have had to quickly adapt to some big changes. This has required a lot of perseverance for those in the commercial vehicles sector, but it’s also highly likely that new processes and ways of working are here to stay for a long time.
While lockdown and social distancing restrictions have been largely relaxed throughout the UK, regular testing will be important for many commercial drivers for the foreseeable future – especially those who are likely to come into contact with other members of the public.
It will also be necessary for fleet operators to take account of the fact that workers may be required to self-isolate at any time should they test positive. On top of staffing issues, many businesses are still dealing with the financial hangovers from the peak of the pandemic. This helped to keep virus transmission to a minimum but meant delaying or cancelling jobs. With regular testing protocols in place, this situation will continue for some time leaving businesses and individual drivers to find new ways to cope.
Where cross-border trade and deliveries are concerned, businesses have found themselves having to contend with an increased workload thanks to extra paperwork and customs declarations. Other businesses relying on imported materials are having to wait longer because of disruptions to supply chains. These bureaucratic issues are compounded further by the additional concerns of COVID.
The long-term effects of this difficult period could leave businesses struggling to retain and recruit new drivers. Drivers may be turned off by any losses of income or an unwillingness to face the additional challenges throughout the industry. It’s difficult to say how commercial vehicle operators could weather the storm, but one thing is for certain – the financial impacts of the last 18 months will still be felt for a long time to come.