A disruptive shortage of fuel haulers isn’t unique to the United States.
The United Kingdom also is suffering from a severe lack of qualified fuel-delivery drivers, compelling government leaders to issue an urgent plea for European tanker drivers to help alleviate the country’s post-Brexit fuel crisis.
However, according to international reports, only a small number of drivers applied for the temporary work visas offered to European drivers at the request of U.K. trucking companies. The government was hoping for 300 applicants, and attracted only 127, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said—and only 27 according to the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy.
“What we said to the road haulage industry was, ‘Fine, give us the names of the drivers that you want to bring in, and we will sort out the visas, you’ve got another 5,000 visas,’” Johnson said in a recent BBC interview.
“They only produced 127 names so far.”
As in the U.S., Britain does not have a shortage of fuel, but it is suffering from a significant shortage of drivers who can move it, leading to supply-chain issues for retailers, whose gas stations have run dry in recent weeks as a result.
Reports indicate Brexit has contributed to the lack of drivers because it ended workers’ free movement between the European Union and the U.K. Other factors include the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on driver pools and license testing, and “a long-standing reluctance on the part of younger people to replace the older truck drivers who are leaving the sector,” according to Fortune.
The U.K. government also relaxed testing standards in an attempt to produce new truck drivers—and enlisted military personnel to help drive tank trucks.