Farmers concerned by delivery delays and “in no position” to pay increased haulage rates
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British farmers have expressed concern over delays to feed deliveries amid the HGV driver shortage, while the National Farmers Union dairy board chairman has claimed dairy farmers cannot absorb the higher rates hauliers are now expecting in order to cover wage inflation.
The report comes from industry website Farmer’s Weekly, which claims it has been contacted by several farmers who have been experiencing disruption to their feed supplies.
Richard Cross, commercial director of feed company KW, has now asked farmers to order in advance to avoid further delays:
“To minimize any potential delays, we are asking all our customers to consider monitoring feedstuff stocks closely and to place orders further in advance. With a longer lead time, it will help our teams to manage our distribution and seek solutions to any issues that we may face.”
According to Farmer’s Weekly, Cross believes the current situation is a result of Covid, Brexit and a decreased capacity for driver tests.
In recent weeks, the HGV driver shortage has seen some companies offer bonuses and increased wages to drivers in order to ensure they retain staff. This, in turn, has seen some haulage companies negotiate higher rates in order to cover the increased labour cost.
However, Michael Oakes, National Farmers Union dairy board chairman, claims that farmers can’t afford to pay more:
“It’s symptomatic of the driver shortage across the food supply chain. Haulage firms are having to increase the amount they pay per hour, but are also having to pay to retain drivers, while others offer cash incentives to tempt them away. Our fear is the effect this will have on costs. Haulage firms have been talking about a 20-30% increase, but dairy farmers are in no position to have those costs passed back to them.”