Lack of Truckers Portends Reopening Shortages, Telegraph Reports

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A surge in consumer demand as the U.K. emerges from coronavirus restrictions may lead to empty store shelves because of a shortage of truck drivers, The Telegraph reported.

As many as 100,000 roles need to be filled, based on estimates by the Road Haulage Association. Meanwhile, many of the 60,000 Eastern European drivers who support the U.K. haulage industry have either returned home during the pandemic, changed jobs or are finding it hard to come back.

Representatives from supermarket giant Tesco Plc told ministers its suppliers were wasting about 50 tons of food per week due to driver shortages, while dairy group Arla Foods said it hasn’t been able to send orders on time as it’s looking for drivers, according to the report.

Supermarkets have broadly moved to a just-in-time supply-chain model, where branches with limited storage room estimate how much stock they need daily. The margin for error is small.

Retailers’ next challenge is managing their routes as August marks the time when they start filling warehouses with products for Christmas, the report said.

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