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Home > Blog > National Lorry Week – We Love the Lorry!

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The Road Haulage Association’s National Lorry Week runs 16 to 22 November. The week celebrates the vital and often-overlooked role the road transport industry has in our everyday lives. This year, more than ever before, the industry – and all who work in it – deserves recognition.

Lorries are the lifeblood of the logistics industry. Pretty much every item in your home – from the chair you’re sitting on to the food you eat and even the toilet paper you use – has travelled on at least one lorry! In fact, 98% of essential consumer goods, including things like food and medicine, rely on lorries.

The Logistics machine

Logistics is the UK’s fifth biggest industry and encompasses the supply chain from end to end. But not everyone in the sector is a driver. There is a whole – often silent – machine which runs night and day, almost silently, to move items from where they are manufactured or enter the country, to where they need to be to reach consumers.

As well as drivers there are transport planners, logistics managers, port staff, van drivers, data analysts, warehouse staff, finance and operations staff, IT specialists…the list goes on. Almost any career you fancy can be done as part of a moving industry.

The sector also gives opportunities for a whole range of apprenticeships and training programmes to lead into long term career paths. And, it’s a growing sector, with the potential for almost a million more jobs. Read more about logistics in the UK and find out more about careers in Logistics this National Lorry Week.

A thriving sector

In the UK, over 2.5 million people are employed by the logistics industry – that’s 8% of the UK’s total workforce and the equivalent of half the population of Sweden!

It is the backbone of the UK economy, worth £124 billion annually. This isn’t surprising when we think how almost every other sector relies on logistics one way or another.

What about lorries?

Road haulage employs 220,000 people in the UK and there are around 5.7 million truck drivers worldwide. 600,000 people hold Goods Vehicle driving licenses in the UK. However, there is currently a shortage of around 35,000 UK HGV drivers in the UK.

Since 1990, there has been a reduction of about 14% of the number of trucks on UK roads. Currently, almost 500,000 commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonnes are registered in the UK.

In the same period lorries have reduced, there has been a massive increase (53%) of the number of vans, perhaps a reflection of the shift to home delivery with the rise of online retail giants.

Good news on overall pollution though! As an industry, trucking in 2020 emits only 5% of the pollutants it was responsible for at the turn of the century. Trucks have also significantly increased in efficiency over the years – down to an increase in maximum payloads as well as improved technology leading to better and more efficient driving.

Are Lorry drivers overlooked?

Throughout the ongoing crisis, the logistics industry has kept on delivering.  Whilst health workers, teachers, and others have received appreciation and even adulation, those who keep the wheels turning have generally just got on with their jobs.

Back in April, we published research showing Lorry Drivers in the UK felt less appreciated during the Coronavirus crisis than their UK and Ireland counterparts: New research: Do essential lorry, van and truck drivers feel appreciated?.

We hope that National Lorry Week helps drivers – and other logistics professionals – to feel valued. And we think throwing the spotlight on the industry is a fantastic idea – one we fully support.

Lorries and the future

The future is exciting. There will be inevitable changes to the industry with the increase in technology. While we are still a long way off self-driving vehicles being the norm, and drivers will remain absolutely necessary, driver-assist technology will change the job of the driver somewhat. Advances in technology also make it safer than ever before.

Changes to the way deliveries happen have also been expedited by the COVID-19 crisis, a change in working patterns, and people being at home more. We wrote about this in our recent blog: COVID-19 and the Future of US Logistics

At CameraMatics we’re proud to support the logistics industry. Our connected technology enables lorries (and other vehicles!) to be safer, smarter, and more efficient. Our full fleet risk management system is used by hauliers across the UK, Ireland, and the USA to protect drivers and vehicles.

If you’d like to find out more about how CameraMatics can enhance your lorries, please contact us or book a free online demo.

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