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Chemical Business Association News

Driver Shortages Causing Critical Supply Chain Issues

16 July 2021

The Chemical Business Association (CBA) has written to the Secretaries of State for Transport – Grant Shapps MP and the Secretary of State for Business – Kwasi Kwarteng MP – saying that the chronic shortage of HGV drivers has reached a critical point for the UK chemical supply chain.

CBA’s Chief Executive, Tim Doggett, said, “We are receiving an increasing volume of reports of delayed deliveries from our distributor member companies and are alarmed that this has now deteriorated to the point that deliveries are simply not being made – a situation confirmed by many of CBA’s logistics services members.”

“CBA’s membership consists of chemical distributors and logistics services providers that together represent the greater part of the UK’s independent chemical supply chain. We therefore have a 360o perspective of this aspect of the UK chemical supply chain,” he added.

CBA companies supply a range of essential chemicals that underpin the UK’s manufacturing and process sectors and some – such as water treatment and medical chemicals – play a key role in preserving health, safety and critical national infrastructure.

CBA repeated its call for urgent action made in its letter to the Prime Minister on 30 June 2021 seeking:

• The introduction of a Temporary Worker Visa for HGV drivers and for this occupation to be added to the Home Office Shortage Occupation list; and,

• A joint Government-industry partnership to lay the foundations for a more permanent solution to the issue, including the immediate and urgent need to establish a Task Force to which CBA would be willing to contribute.

Commenting on the recent announcement on the relaxation of driver’s hours, Tim Doggett, said, “We recognised this measure is an acknowledgement of the driver shortage issue, but we believe this may only make the problem worse. Many drivers are away from their families for considerable periods of time and already work up to 15-hour days. Expecting them to work more hours against this background is unrealistic. The central issue is the shortage of 60,000 HGV drivers. Simply extending driver’s hours is not appropriate or effective solution. Urgent action is now needed.”

Further information from:
Tim Doggett
CBA Chief Executive
01270 258200


(1) A copy of the CBA’s recent letter to the Prime Minister on the drover shortage issue is attached.

(2) CBA represents the independent chemical supply chain. Its membership includes distributors, traders, warehouse operators, along with logistics and transport companies. CBA’s members, the majority of which are SMEs, are the main industry interface with thousands of UK downstream chemical users.

(3) CBA’s distributor member companies have an annual turnover of £2.75 billion and employ more than 8,700 people distributing, packing, and blending key chemical components and services to virtually every sector of the UK economy. CBA’s logistics member companies handle more than four million tonnes of chemicals every year.

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