🚛Where Have All The Actual Drivers Of Our Economy Gone To?

Recent supply chain problems have showed us just how reliant our entire economy is on truck drivers. Without them, goods cannot be transported from ports to warehouses and from warehouses to shops and from shops to your front door. 

There’s just so much that goes on behind the scenes in this web-like structure we call supply chains that when just one snaps, you can pretty much wave goodbye to the whole lot.

These supply problems are looking a lot like that last bit of ketchup stuck at the bottom of the glass bottle. And no matter how much you bang the top, the sauce just won’t come out. 

These shortages have also been topped with rising consumer demand which has meant that prices for literally everything from second-hand cars to tuna fish have all shot up. Compare your most recent grocery bill to what it was just a couple months ago. You’ll be shocked. 

So, if we can’t calm down all our demand for stuff, we can at least try to sort out this supply mess. And it starts with our very own truck drivers.

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The invisible worker

It’s only when trouble started brewing that HGV drivers suddenly received a whole lot of attention and press. Before that, they were nowhere to be seen. No one spoke of them. Few had even heard of them.

The average age of these truckers is 50 and around 50,000 are quitting each year due to a number of reasons least of all the unforgiving hours.

In the UK, truck drivers used to be mostly made up of foreigners but many of them have since left thanks to a combination of Brexit and Covid. There are posters everywhere advertising for these jobs but the positions are just not being filled. In the UK, the shortage is around 100,000 truck drivers. The effect: chaos, backed up seaports, empty supermarket shelves and – the worst of all – price rises.

It’s hard, hard work

Their work is not something to be looked down upon. And their lifestyle is not an easy one. You’re stuck inside a truck (all by yourself) for 12 or 13 each day. Your work begins at 8am and finishes around 9pm. After a couple hours your legs and back start to ache and then the tiredness sets in. 

And you can’t just take a coffee break whenever you feel it – any rest breaks must be planned for. The lack of proper rest facilities across the UK is becoming a real problem. And the lack of overnight stays is becoming an even bigger one. So much so, that these drivers just resort to staying in their trucks.

The government has kindly set aside £32.5 million to upgrade these lorry parks but some reckon this is a drop in the ocean. These truck drivers are literally driving our economy and it’s about time they were recognised for that, and paid accordingly. 

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Not without sacrifice 

All these hours spent on the road makes it so much harder for these workers to raise a family and have a proper social life. You leave way before everyone wakes up and you’re home when they’re all asleep.

I can imagine it gets so lonely but a job is a job and if it feeds the family and pays the bills then that’s what you gotta do. However, their salary should be taking all these sacrifices into account. It should be compensating these workers for their long, lonely hours.

But sadly it’s not that straightforward at all. Hiking their wages without an equal rise in productivity (measured as output per worker per hour) will only add fuel to this inflation fire.

The government has arranged 5,000 temporary lorry visas to tempt HGV drivers to be in the UK for the short-term. But this is like covering a bleeding wound with a plaster. It just won’t do it. There needs to be a shift in policy from the top down to avoid something far more sinister.  

When it’s gone

It took a pandemic and a global shortage to make us realise just how crucial these wonderful workers are. But that’s the human condition.

We only appreciate what we’ve had all along when it gets taken away. So don’t wait till it’s too late. Look at all that you have now and be grateful for the whole lot.

It’s high time we appreciate these workers that are literally the wheels to our economy. Supermarkets gets filled and food lands up on our table all thanks to them. 

Let’s stop and appreciate those around us. Whether it’s our delivery guy or our cleaner, they are all human beings and without them, things just wouldn’t be able to function properly.

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Outside of work 

Behind that truck driver is a human being. With ambitions, hopes, dreams. An entire world lies beneath.

We are more than our jobs.

Yes, work is a massive part of our lives least of all because of the sheer amount of time and mental energy that we devote to it. But it is not our entirety. Nor should they be. 

Carve out an identity for yourself that goes beneath your line of work so that you don’t lose yourself in the midst of it all. And, jobs don’t always stick around forever. I think Covid’s taught us that.

And the danger of attaching your identity to your job is that if the job goes, your identity could go along with it.

So develop hobbies, interests and passions that lie outside your 9-to-5. Discover who you are and what makes you tick. Life is too short to do anything but.

And, don’t make the mistake in judging people by their line of work. Yes, truck drivers are not the most glamorous, nor is their work highly-paid or respected (well, I hope it is now!) but look at how much we need them. Every job is vital to keep the cogs turning in our economy.

It’s time that we get to know people for who they are outside of work. Next time you meet someone, spend some time trying to get to know the real them.

You’ll both come away with a whole lot more than had you simply chatted about what your boss is or isn’t up to. 

Disclaimer: This blog is not investment or financial advice. It is my opinion only. This blog is not a personal recommendation to buy/sell any security, or to adopt any such investment strategy. Always do your own research before you commit to any investment.