Drug & Alcohol Testing:

UK Logistics and Haulage Driver Shortage Disruption and Safeguarding Employee Investment

Published: 18th August 2021

In recent weeks there have been calls for action to be taken by the UK government to curb the effects of what is being dubbed the ‘pingdemic’. The situation, that has gathered pace more recently is now starting to become more visible as a UK driver shortage impacts services and supermarket shelves. [1]

The problem, now affecting the supply of goods to supermarkets may continue for several months unless the government acts to tackle the crisis within the logistics and haulage industry. [1] A shortage of qualified HGV drivers within these industries began as the UK transitioned through the Brexit process, and worsened with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fallout from this evolving situation was further highlighted last month when Arla, the UK’s biggest dairy supplier extended their calls on the UK government to address the situation, with the organisation unable to fulfil a quarter of deliveries due to the shortage of drivers. Managing Director of Arla Foods UK, Ash Amirahmadi told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that food shortages needed to be avoided during the summer; also adding “Since around mid-April, we have been experiencing driver shortages, particularly in the south of the country. It’s progressively got worse and our assessment is that we’re currently now facing a driver shortage crisis,”. [2]

Driver Shortage to Worsen During August

Logistics and haulage organisations have recently stated that August would be a key month in the current driver shortage, due a number of factors. One factor is that workers are taking summer breaks, but the situation is being amplified by issues relating to Brexit and the current ‘pigdemic’ self-isolation situation facing the industry. Some organisations have started to offer signing-on bonuses to recruit new drivers, but these strategies are currently failing to ease the pressure. [1] A recent survey undertaken by Logistics UK, who represent members of these industries revealed that 29% of members are unable to fill their current HGV driver vacancies. [3]

Extra Investment in HGV Lorry Drivers

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) recently estimated that there is a 100,000 shortage of HGV drivers across the UK [4]. With more and more organisations being hit by the effects of the current driver shortage, new recruitment strategies are being deployed, including large monetary incentives for those willing to join or even retrain as lorry drivers.

An example of the impact the driver shortage is having within these industries, was echoed recently when dairy Arla began offering a £2,000 signing-on bonus for new drivers prepared to work weekends [2], and Tesco also recently offering a £1,000 joining bonus [4]. Aldi also recently announced a pay rise for their lorry drivers in a bid to attract more HGV drivers. [5]


With logistics and transport organisations investing heavily in qualified drivers amidst a shortage, it is now more imperative than ever to safeguard this investment in new employees with drug and alcohol testing in the workplace. With the potential for workforce capacity to be impeded by outside factors, this could increase the risk to those who are able to work. Given the scale of the Logistics and Transport industry in the UK, the risk of drug and alcohol misuse to businesses and road users can have a detrimental effect and as a result, more and more companies are implementing a Drug and Alcohol Policy.

At SYNLAB Laboratory Services we partner with over 3,500 employers across the UK to enable safer, healthier workplaces through drug and alcohol testing services. We work with customers to identify, deter and rule out drug and alcohol misuse within the workplace.

Please visit our website for more information or if you would like to arrange an appointment with one of our team to discuss a Drug & Alcohol Policy, you can call us on 01873 856688 or email [email protected]

  1. www.theguardian.com/business/2021/aug/03/call-for-action-as-uk-driver-shortage-hits-supermarket-shelves?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
  2. www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/jul/30/driver-shortage-crisis-threatens-uk-milk-deliveries-in-wake-of-brexit-and-covid
  3. www.ciltuk.org.uk/Portals/0/Images/Focus%20Archive/Focus%202021/FOCUS_July21_CMYK_LR.pdf?ver=2021-07-01-115101-870
  4. www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-57983698
  5. www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58047483
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