Driver shortages have been a real problem in the UK in recent months and the same situation has started to affect the Irish supply chain. Drivers of heavy goods vehicles are essential to the efficiency of the supply chain in Ireland, yet the whole supply chain network is as vulnerable as its weakest link and among many parts of the supply chain, drivers are often overlooked.
By The Numbers
The professionalism and availability of lorry drivers are the epitome of the resilience of the supply chains in Ireland. Road transport is the most essential way of goods distribution and in 2020, about 141 million tonnes of goods passed through the Irish supply chain. Ireland’s Department of Transport reported that there are about 40,000 heavy goods vehicles that weigh more than 3.5tonne in the country. While road transport represents 75% of distribution of goods in the rest of EU, it reaches more than 95% in Ireland. A shortage of drivers can have serious impact in the supply chain and it may eventually affect the entire economy of Ireland.
The Effective On SMEs
SMEs are an essential part of the Irish supply chain and the lack of drivers will affect them worse. In Ireland, SMEs require raw materials, equipment, and supplies. They also use the supply chain to deliver goods to clients in Ireland, the UK, and other EU countries. SME deliveries make up more than half of road transport in Ireland. These small and medium-sized companies are looking to regain growth following the pandemic restrictions. They often lack the financial resources to purchase their own heavy goods vehicles and hire qualified drivers full-time. Driver shortages may force SMEs in Ireland to turn away potentially lucrative orders, because they are unable to deliver goods on time to clients. As haulage contractors find it difficult to hire capable drivers, they will also be unable to accept delivery orders from SMEs.
The retail sector is one of the endpoints in the supply chain and the impact of driver shortages is very significant. Many stores in Ireland are starting to run low on stock for certain items. Retail stores may limit shipments only for most essential goods. Home deliveries across the Ireland are experiencing extended delays. It takes a few days longer for customers to get goods delivered to their homes. The lack of goods in the retail sector and home delivery delays will cause prices to go up. The Irish economy is currently on a path to recovery and the driver shortage will be a downward force for GDP growth in 2021.
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