A SHORTAGE of lorry drivers could cause problems for British businesses and consumers as early as this September, a recruitment agency has warned.

Bournemouth-based City Centre Recruitment has warned of a lack of qualified and experienced HGV drivers – and says a new rule could make things worse.

Recruitment specialist Tina Hawkins, who is a qualified HGV1 licence holder, said the shortage could spell serious problems.

She said: “From September onwards there is always a peak in demand in the transport industry as all major distribution centres ramp up activity in the pre-Christmas build up. This year everyone involved in haulage and transportation is reporting problems in getting drivers in place.

“It’s a case of supply and demand, and there just don’t seem to be enough experienced and qualified drivers available to work at the moment.”

She said the problem would be exacerbated by a new ruling due to come into force on September 9, which would require all Class 1 drivers to hold a CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) card in order to work legally.

“To gain a CPC card, all Class 1 drivers must have participated in 35 hours of mandatory training. From all our industry specialist knowledge and contacts, we are aware that many drivers are yet to complete all their hours, and therefore may not meet the cut-off date,” she added.

City Centre Recruitment has a nationwide specialist driving division with an office in the Midlands, which recruits drivers for jobs across the country.

It has found more demand for drivers as the economy improves, while some European drivers who came to the UK to work are now returning home as more jobs become available there.

Dan Shrimpton, MD at City Centre, added: “At the moment being a lorry driver definitely means the world’s your oyster in terms of job opportunities.”