Extra-long trucks could help solve a massive driver shortage and related supply chain problems, an expert says

A lorry delivering food in the UK
The UK is currently short 100,000 truck drivers. Tolga Akmen / AFP
  • A shortage of UK truck drivers is causing supply chain delays, including at McDonald’s.
  • The government is testing longer trucks that can carry more goods and cut down on journeys.
  • This could help solve the driver shortage, one expert said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Extra-long trucks could help solve supply chain issues during a driver shortage in the UK, an expert says.

These trucks, which are being tested by the UK’s Department for Transport, are two meters longer than standard, which means they can carry more goods and therefore cut down on the number of journeys required.

They could appear on UK roads as soon as next year, according to a report from The Telegraph.

According to the Associated Press, citing numbers from the Road Haulage Association (RHA), the UK is currently short 100,000 drivers. Restrictions during the pandemic meant many candidates were unable to take the necessary driving tests, AP reported.

Extra-long trucks “will have a benefit because it will decrease the amount of lorry drivers we need,” Duncan Buchanan, policy director at the RHA, said in a statement shared in The Telegraph on Tuesday.

“They are higher capacity, so you need fewer drivers to do the same amount of work,” he said.

The Department for Transport has been trialing these giant trucks since 2012 and found that, on average, the trucks cut the need for one out of every 12 journeys.

Insider contacted the Department of Transport for more details but did not immediately hear back.

Read more: 
Business owners are already prepping for holiday shopping madness to avoid shipping delays and supply-chain nightmares

Retailers and restaurants across the UK are continuing to face supply chain issues. This week, McDonald’s said it would remove its milkshakes from menus across its UK restaurants because of shortages.

“Like most retailers, we are currently experiencing some supply chain issues, impacting the availability of a small number of products,” a spokesperson said.

KFC also reported product shortages at some UK stores earlier this month.