Does logistics have an image problem?
Young adults are the least likely to consider a career as a lorry driver, which has led many in the industry to question: does logistics need an image change? And, furthermore, is there anything government and businesses can do to make the profession more accessible to younger people?
The facts are stark: forecasts predict that at least 50,000 additional drivers will be needed by 2020 for the UK logistics industry keep up with demand, yet the average age for a truck driver is 57. It is becoming increasingly clear that new talent needs to be brought in, and fast.
HGVtraining.co.uk conducted a survey of 2,000 people which revealed that that just one in five of 18 to 24-year-olds would consider a career in lorry driving, compared with 38 percent of those aged 25 to 34 – and 35 percent of 35 to 44-year-olds.
The survey was also able to reveal some of the motivations (or lack thereof!) behind not wanting to get into lorry driving. The top three reasons were a perceived lack of career progression, boredom and the cost of training to become a driver (which currently stands at around £3,000 for the CPC professional driver qualification).
The research also found only 14 percent of women would consider switching into HGV driving - while more than a third overtly declared that they didn’t see it as a female-friendly industry.
As such, HGVtraining.co.uk has released its Young Truckers’ Manifesto – a three-point plan to overcome the biggest barriers the industry poses to young people, building on the recently announced HGV Driver Trailblazer Apprenticeship. The plan calls for:
1. A Government commitment to establish a fund of £25 million dedicated for training drivers aged 21-25
2. Guaranteed free re-takes of the CPC for those who don’t pass on the first occasion
3. An increased focus on promoting a career in logistics in schools – along the lines of a German-style emphasis on vocational options
Gary Benardout, Co-founder of HGVtraining.co.uk, said: “Our research proves that there is a good appetite from a career in logistics, and our task – and the task of the industry as a whole – is to bridge the gap between interest and recruitment. It’s not an easy task, or one that can be completed immediately, but the sooner we tackle the issue, the sooner a resolution can be achieved.”
Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight
Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports.
A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers.
Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US.
The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two.
Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels
The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.
The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete.
Tesla’s supply chain woes
Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue.
Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely.
Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany