Nisa deliveries hit by truck driver shortage

Over the weekend several Nisa retailers took to social media to voice their frustration at the situation. Mike Sohal, owner of Dallam Stores in Warrington, tweeted: “Not only have I lost sales and profit I’ll make further losses in short dates stock, I’ll have to spend endless amount of time on the phone chasing credit for non-deliveries. On top of all of this we still had to pay the staff that was re-arranged to handle deliveries.”

Peter Sykes, of Colin Sykes Foodstores in Speke and Woolton, added: “You got an email? Nothing apart from false promises here. Your delivery won’t come today, but definitely tomorrow.

Then tomorrow it’s a total failure. Now two deliveries outstanding without any news of if/when or ever. Shambolic.”

Onkar Sandhu, of Sandhu Stores in Tamworth, Staffordshire, said: “Stock issues, delivery schedules are an utter joke. Emails at 10pm to tell us a delivery due the next day isn’t coming.”

Kishor Patel, who has several stores in Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, added: “Let alone erratic deliveries from Nisa, Wednesday we had 50 cases not available, today there were 80 cases not available – the same products available in Co-op shops – this is not good for business.” In response, the symbol group said: “A number of factors, including a national shortage of delivery drivers and a sharp increase in volume driven by the fine weather, created challenges toward the backend of last week.

While we worked hard to minimise the impact on partners and avoided any volume intervention, some will have experienced delays to deliveries. “The situation has now improved with the backlog cleared, although the nationwide shortage of drivers continues to affect the whole industry, and we expect deliveries to return to normal this week.” The Road Haulage Association has today (7 June) written to the government about the driver shortage for trucks, which it says is hitting crisis level in the UK.

The trade body says a combination of factors – many of them long-standing – has contributed to the current situation. The letter says: “Recovery from Covid 19 is increasing demand across supply chains, the impact is already being seen with the increased opening of non-essential retail and parts of the hospitality sector in recent weeks. The recovery is exacerbating the already existing shortage. Brexit has contributed too.

So has the loss of about 12 months of driver training and testing.” It adds: “The immediate point is that there is a need for tangible short-term urgent actions that will help deal with the shortage of drivers in the coming year. It is critical that solutions that fit the industry rather than the bureaucratic requirements and limitations imposed by government departments and related bodies.

This has to embrace diverse actions including international recruitment and retention and finding ways to allow qualified drivers to rapidly re-join the industry. “Action will be needed to address the issues over the longer term too. The respect for drivers and the vital skilled contribution they make for society needs to be better recognised.

We already see that post-Covid some drivers are not wanting to go back to the way they worked.

Congestion, hostility towards drivers and lorries, conditions on the road, treatment at collection sites, narrow delivery slots with fines, hours, work-life balance are all factors the require improvement.”