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Falling numbers of middle-aged and EU truckers contributed to over 50,000 people leaving their jobs in the UK over the past four years.
Truck drivers in the UK peaked in June 2017 at an estimated 321,000. Since then, the total number has fallen by 53,000, the Office for National Statistics announced on Tuesday, a decrease of 16 percent.
The number of drivers aged 46 to 54 has since declined 39 percent, or 34,000, the largest drop of any age. During the same period, the number of truck drivers in the EU fell by 30 percent or 12,000 people.
The decline is likely to continue as few new drivers enter the profession. In the year to June 2021, 16,022 truck driving tests were passed, a decrease from an average of 41,731 per year in the previous five-year period.
The decline in driver numbers has come with the increased demand for goods, the reopening of the economy and the boom in e-commerce, which has resulted in an increasing number of job vacancies.
In the three-month period from July to September there were 52,000 vacancies in the area of transport and storage, the highest level since records began. Truck drivers make up around a tenth of the workforce in this industry.
The ONS reported that more than one in five UK companies said the lack of freight forwarders or logistics equipment was a challenge. Almost a third of consumers found it difficult to obtain food, medicines or other essentials.