Pandemic boosts appreciation for lorry drivers and supply chain awareness, latest study finds

The COVID pandemic, Brexit and supply chain disruptions have combined to boost public appreciation of workers across the logistics sectors and increased awareness of the supply chains and delivery routes these workers enable. Those are some of the headlines from a large survey of the public released today by the UK Major Ports Group (UKMPG), the trade association for the UK’s largest port operators.

Pandemic boosts appreciation for lorry drivers and supply chain awareness, latest study finds
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More than two-thirds of the public believe that transport and delivery workers should be more appreciated by us all. Nearly half of the public think more about how goods are transported and where their online deliveries come from than they did pre-pandemic, the survey has found.

“Historically hidden or overlooked, workers, driving trucks, unloading ships in ports or operating warehouses are now much better appreciated by the British public. More of the public have also woken up to the complex, sophisticated supply chains that deliver our just in time lives and businesses” – said Tim Morris, Chief Executive of the UK Major Ports Group, commenting on the results. – „Despite the extraordinary pressures of the pandemic, Brexit and global disruptions, the logistics industries and their workers have shown incredible resilience”.

Morris says UKMPG want to see the Government build on this public appreciation and improve the connectivity infrastructure, the development rules and the support for green solutions that logistics needs to keep delivering for the UK.

Truckers have become more appreciated than teachers

68% of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that those who work in delivery and logistics deserve more appreciation than they get.

Appreciation for logistics workers has increased more over the last six months than for occupations like teachers or the police.

65% of respondents replied that their respect for HGV drivers had increased more or much more over the last 6 months, a pattern followed by perceptions of warehouse workers (54%) and port workers (50%), relative to teachers (46%) and police officers (39%).

It’s not just the workers

Awareness of the supply chains and delivery systems these workers make happen has increased too. Nearly half the public (48%) agree or strongly agree with the statement “I think more about the process by which goods are transported and delivered to me than I did a few years ago”.

The same share of the public (48%) agrees or strongly agree with the statement “I pay more attention to where the things I order online come from than I used to at the start of the year”.

Appreciation increased but so did the demand for rapid deliveries

But awareness is not the same as understanding, it seems. Only 24% of people are “quite confident” or “very confident” they could describe how an item of clothing got from where it was made to their house or a shop.

The survey also shines a light on our ‘just in time’ preferences and consumer experiences of supply chain issues during the pandemic.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, it’s the young who lead the way in rapid delivery expectations. But even the older generations are not far behind. 25% of 18-24-year-olds expect same-day grocery delivery, compared with 9% of over 65s. But expectations largely merge over a 3-day delivery timeframe, cumulatively 79% for 18-24-year-olds vs 72% for the over 65s.

The clear impact of supply chain issues: buying products more in advance

Nearly three-quarters of the survey respondents (74%) have at least some experience of stock availability issues in shops with nearly half (47%) experiencing at least some delays in delivery of online orders.

HGV driver shortages are cited by nearly three-quarters of respondents (73%) as a top 3 reason for supply chain issues, followed by Brexit and the pandemic which tie as most cited top 3 factors (47% and 46% respectively).

And there are some grounds for believing that changes in consumer behaviour could stick: 74% of survey respondents who changed their buying behaviour in the run-up to Christmas now plan to make the changes they’ve made (buying more in advance 41%, more ‘little and often’ 29%, shopping around 29%, more online 27%) part of their ongoing purchasing behaviour.

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