Convenience store shelves are being left empty due to a shortage of delivery drivers due to Brext, Covid and a reduction in the number of hours allowed, wholesalers say.
They struggle to copy with too few drivers available to make deliveries, forcing them to introduce caps on orders.
According to wholesaler Spar AF Blakemore, the lack of drivers has led to a decrease in the number of cars on the road and a decrease in the capacity to transport goods between its depot and its stores.
Trade magazine The Grocer said it understood the products were also being returned to the Midlands Willenhall distribution center as available drivers ran out of hours they were allowed to drive.
Wholesaler Spar AF Blakemore has been forced to introduce caps on the amount of products retailers can order as the lack of drivers has resulted in a decrease in the number of cars on the road and less capacity to transport goods between its depot. and its stores.
James Russell, managing director of Blakemore Wholesale Distribution, believes the reduction in the number of legally permitted working hours by the government has prevented them from returning to the UK.
He said the problem was caused by both Brexit and the coronavirus, with drivers returning to the EU in 2020 and not returning.
The government temporarily eased driver rules in the UK last year from nine hours of driving a day to 11 hours due to the pandemic.
However, rules returned to normal on June 15 and distribution centers believe this has prompted drivers to seek work elsewhere.
Blakemore Wholesale Distribution chief executive James Russell believes the reduction in the number of legally permitted working hours by the government has prevented them from returning to the UK.
The Department for Transport (DfT) introduced on 23 March last year an urgent and limited relaxation in the application of EU and UK rules on driver schedules in England, Scotland and the UK. Wales.
An independent Spar retailer supplied by the wholesaler told The Grocer: “Our stores look terrible. We needed 40-50 cases of Foster last weekend and got three.
The retailer said he would be forced to visit a rival and transport him for the first time.
Blakemore Wholesale Distribution chief executive James Russell said the problem was caused by both Brexit and the coronavirus, with drivers returning to the EU in 2020 and not returning, made worse by the reduction the number of hours that drivers are legally allowed to work.
Mr Russell told The Grocer: “Over the past few weeks we have been subjected to the same influencing factors as the rest of the industry. We understand through the Federation of Wholesale Distributors that 12% of the UK driver pool has been repatriated, creating a significant deficit.
“The impact of this situation is not proportional across the country. Our Talbot Green South Wales and Hastings depots are operating normally. The situation is more difficult in the Midlands where the demand for drivers is higher. ‘
The magazine said the problem appears to be affecting wholesalers across the board. A Londis retailer also told The Grocer it was experiencing shortages.
Bestway Wholesale ® Dawood Pervez agreed the driver shortage was a concern.