The chief executive of Wincanton has said the challenge of grappling with the “perfect storm” behind lorry driver shortages remains, but the logistics firm can cope.
James Wroath told the Evening Standard driver recruitment across industries had been impacted by “Brexit, Covid and surging demand”, coupled with the fact “the workforce was already ageing”.
The transport and warehouses firm he leads employs around 5000 drivers directly and increased wages this year.
Wroath said pressures continue, but Wincanton “has the resources to get the job [work for its customers] done”.
The company, which works with chains including Waitrose, boosted pre-tax profits by 31% to £25.1 million in the half year to September.
A year earlier it did face more disruption costs at the start of the pandemic. But profits this year have also benefited from new contract wins and more work with existing retail customers, some of which saw online orders surge during lockdowns.
Even so, Wroath warned that costs were likely to continue rising in a tight labour market. In an interview with the Financial Times he said: “I think pay rates and cost pressures will continue in order to ensure we have enough people,” he said. “We’re three to five years from solving those issues.”