Christmas at risk from HGV driver shortages and supply chain crisis

Jesse Williams

By Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

25 Aug 2021

Christmas is under threat according to the boss of one of largest UK supermarket chains.

Richard Walker, the Managing director of Iceland has warned the HGV driver shortages and concurrent supply chain crisis “is impacting the food supply chain on a daily basis” with Christmas in the purview.

“The reason for sounding the alarm now is that we’ve already had one Christmas cancelled at the last minute,” he said.

“[…]I’d hate this one to be problematic as well. We’ve had deliveries cancelled for the first time since the pandemic began, about 30-40 deliveries a day. Things like bread, fast-moving lines, are being cancelled in about 100 stores a day.

“The shortages consumers are seeing from the likes of Nando’s and McDonalds in recent days and weeks highlights the immense impact this is having on businesses across the country.”

HGV drivers are approximately 100,000 lighter than what the UK needs with the expectation that this could leave gaps in shelves during the holiday period.

Walker said: “We are increasing our pay rates across our depots, and I think the market will correct itself. The problem with bringing in UK workers is that will take six months. We have to find these people, train them up, they need to get class 1 licences.”