Turners ‘massively impacted’ and Knowles up pay to hire HGV drivers  

Turners and Soham need more HGV drivers

Turners of Soham MD Paul Day (right) spoke at a conference about HGV driver shortages. Companies such as Knowles Transport have also been affected. - Credit: Archant

Turners of Soham admit to having been “massively impacted” by a shortage of drivers.  

Managing director Paul Day told a conference that drivers need to be “valued and paid appropriately.  

“It's about knowing people and having management present on the ground, all one team." 

Speaking at the How to Retain People business conference in Suffolk, he added: “We’ve been massively impacted by a shortage of drivers.” 

Mr Day said: "At the moment retention of people is the most important thing. It's not only drivers, it's warehouse operators, pack house operators and support services.” 

He believes the driver shortage has been caused by a number of factors, including the lack of EU drivers, a long period without training and testing, and a surge in activity levels as lockdown was eased. 

His group of companies – according to the last published accounts - show a workforce of 4,248 compared to 2,170 the year before.  

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In a separate interview ITV Anglia recently, he said: “Fundamentally there are not enough drivers within the UK to cover the amount of work of transport movements that is required by economy and country. 

“There are some products that are now not being delivered at all and it reduces the supply in the country. 

“Two months ago, I said this would be economy limiting and it's already there." 

Another of the area’s largest logistics firms is Knowles Transport, advertising widely for HGV Class 1 drivers and promising “new enhanced” rates of pay.  

The company says it pay scales offer equivalent earning potential up to £16 per hour and an average of £14 per hour based on desired shift patterns”. 

And the family run business tells prospective drivers: “We won’t check up on your progress every five minutes like some hauliers”. 

Like Turners, Knowles Transport continues to expand and add to its fleet. 

It has just bought 50 Volvo FH460 Turbo Compound vehicles – the largest single order in company history. 

33 of the 50 of the vehicles will act as replacements and the additional 17 will be to augment growth. 

And their recent order closely follows their purchase of 26 vehicles and 85 trailers to meet increased demand.  

The Road Haulage Association estimates there is a shortage of more than 100,000 drivers in the UK.