If you regularly drive on the motorways, or on normal roads, then you may have seen a number of HGVs driving with you. These may sometimes be branded, or have logos on the side that show you what they are hauling. Alternatively, sometimes, they may be blank and leave you wondering what is inside.
Playing ‘guess the contents of the HGV’ can be a fun game. HGVs are so common these days that we often fail to even notice them, but they have a huge role to play in powering the economy. Our lifestyles rely on their service.
The Roads are the Primary Means of Moving Goods in the UK
Around 98% of all goods that are consumed in the UK are transported on the roads. Food, drink, clothing, and jewellery are all moved by the roads, making them one of the most important parts of the economy in the UK. Without those roads, the country would come to a standstill. Yes, we ship in goods from overseas, or through the channel tunnel, which means that Brexit is an important issue. Once they reach the UK, though, it is roads, not rail, which plays the biggest role in transporting goods.
Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs
HGV driving and transport of goods helps to provide around 600,000 jobs for residents in the UK. That works out to around 600,000 drivers who are currently employed thanks to this industry. 98.8 percent of those drivers are men, so the industry does not do well in the equality stakes right now. There is a large shortage of drivers, so perhaps pushing more women to join the industry would be useful to fill the 15% of vacancies which, currently, the haulage companies fear that they may never be able to fill at all. Taking a look at the LGV training company would be a great place to start.
Haulage Drives the Economy
Haulage companies are some of the country’s biggest employers. They need people not just to drive, but also to load and unload pallets, manage warehouses and more. The UK haulage industry employs more than 2.5 million people in total, behind the NHS, the HMRC and even the military. There are skilled jobs and manual labour jobs in the industry, as well as, of course, all of the back office jobs that come with it, and that make the industry tick over.
A Huge Financial Contribution
As well as being a major employer, the haulage sector contributes a fortune to the economy in the UK. According to the latest estimates, it is worth £124 billion, so it really is one of the most important sectors. It brings a lot of money into the UK each year, and the amount that it brings in is likely to increase year on year. Brexit, again, is causing some uncertainty for the economy. The industry has been a stable, important part of the country for decades but the disruptions to shipping could be a huge issue that will destabilise the industry and as a result that may cause problems for retailers, manufacturers, and everyone else who relies on things moving nicely.
Drivers Can Be Any Age
The HGV sector is one that attracts workers from all occupations. Men and women can be drivers. Some people start in the industry and never leave. Others transfer over from other sectors, looking for stable work. The average age of a UK HGV driver is 48, which is older than for many sectors. Not all of the drivers in the industry were born in the UK. Around 13 percent were educated in a different country, so when Brexit happens, their continued residence is not guaranteed.
The Future is Environmentally Friendly
There are around 524,500 commercial vehicles weighing over 3.5 tonnes that are currently registered in the UK. Those vehicles weigh the same as a young African elephant. A driver that is a member of the Road Haulage Association, which has exacting standards for its drivers, is driving almost half of those vehicles. The rest may be members of other associations, or independent drivers. There is a push to make all vehicles environmentally friendly over the next couple of years, to reduce the total carbon footprint of the UK’s vehicles.