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Premier Foods News Headlines. PFD Share News. Financial News Articles for Premier Foods Plc Ord 10P updated throughout the day.

(Adds government spokesperson comment)

LONDON, July 2 (Reuters) – Premier Foods, one of
Britain’s biggest food companies, has called on the government
to consider using the army to distribute goods to help relieve a
severe shortage of truck drivers.

Last week industry leaders warned Britain could face gaps on
supermarket shelves this summer and an “unimaginable” collapse
of supply chains after the pandemic and Brexit led to a shortage
of more than 100,000 heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers.

At a meeting on Monday between officials from the Department
for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and food industry
representatives, Premier Foods’ delegate asked the government to
consider using the army to distribute supplies, given that some
military personnel hold HGV licenses.

Details of the meeting were first reported by ITV News.

“This was one of many ideas put forward in an industry
brainstorming session,” a spokesman for Premier Foods, which
owns brands including Mr Kipling, Bisto, Ambrosia and Paxo, said
on Friday.

“At Premier Foods, we have plans in place to manage the
situation within our supply chain.”

A spokesman for Britain’s Ministry of Defence said it had
not received a formal request to provide support. A government
spokesperson later said: “There are no plans to use military
personnel in this scenario.”

At the DEFRA meeting Chris Hall, head of logistics at Asda,
Britain’s third largest supermarket group after Tesco
and Sainsbury’s, said the grocer was “just about
keeping our head above water”.

He warned however that any spike in demand this summer would
“give us significant challenges and disruption”.

Industry lobby group the British Retail Consortium (BRC)
said the fall in HGV driver numbers has resulted in minor
disruption to some supply chains.

“Supermarkets are working closely with their suppliers to
ensure that consumers still have access to the same great
selection of goods,” said Andrew Opie, the BRC’s director of
food & sustainability.

“The government must rapidly increase the number of HGV
driving tests taking place while also looking for a longer-term
solution to this issue.”

The government has said most of the solutions are likely to
be commercial and from within industry.
(Reporting by James Davey
Editing by Jan Harvey)

Haribo supply woes latest blow in lorry driver crisis

A spokesperson for the confectionery giant said the firm was facing several challenges throughout its supply chain, including a shortage of drivers coupled with an ‘unprecedented and sustained surge in demand’.

“Whilst this demand is great news for the category and wider economy, it does mean we will have to review our activity plans with all our wholesale and retail partners to ensure the best availability possible is maintained,”​ the spokesperson added.

Supply hold-up

Other companies across the industry are experiencing similar issues. EHL Ingredients warned mixed pallets of herbs, spices, seeds and nuts destined for the UK foodservice and retail sectors were stuck in ports due to the widely reported driver shortage.

EHL managing director Tasneem Alonzo said: “The transport crisis is not only affecting us but everyone right across the food industry supply chain. Businesses should be ready to allow more time for deliveries as the industry isn’t able to operate as it normally would.”

The Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) has also sounded the alarm over driver shortages. A spokesperson for the trade body said: “Some wholesalers have had to limit the number of deliveries they make to convenience stores, which has led to availability issues. They have done all they can to keep their customers stocked, including raising drivers’ wages and even sending depot staff out in vehicles to fulfil smaller orders.

“Some have had to turn down business in order to fulfil orders to regular customers. They have tried engaging agencies, but agencies too are short of drivers. If fresh produce cannot be delivered then it creates food waste, much of which is difficult to redistribute and will need to be destroyed.”

The spokesperson added that manufacturers who supply into the wholesale channel have experienced similar issues with distribution, and FWD members are reporting particular difficulties getting hold of soft drinks, beer, and chilled products like cream, cheese, yoghurt and meats. 

‘Perfect storm’

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) believes the crisis in driver numbers is due to the ‘perfect storm’ of the post-Brexit immigration rules making recruitment more difficult and COVID-19 causing a backlog for driving tests.

Last week the RHA wrote to prime minister Boris Johnson calling for urgent action to tackle the shortage, which it estimates stands at around 100,000 drivers. The trade body also issued ministers with a 12-point action plan offering solutions, including the addition of truckers to the Shortage Occupation List, allowing firms to temporarily recruit drivers from abroad.

EHL’s Alonzo agrees Brexit is the main culprit of the crisis. “The driver shortage is a clear result of the exodus of EU drivers without a plan or strategy by the Government to recruit a replacement UK workforce,” he said.

“As the country opens up and supplies are needed in hospitality and retail, demand will increase as businesses race to replenish stocks, and the driver shortage and wider transport crisis will cause even further headaches for shops and restaurants ready to reopen.”

However, a think tank organised by logistics firm Driver Require believes the problem has been a long time in the making. In its report The Answer to the UK’s HGV Driver Shortage​, the group points out that in July 2016 the House of Commons Transport Committee produced a report on skills and workforce planning in the road haulage sector that concluded:

“The industry must take a long-term view if it is to meet the challenges posed by the likely growth in demand and the effects of the demographic timebomb, both of which will be felt increasingly over the next 10-15 years.”

Indeed, Food Manufacture ​reported that the shortage of HGV drivers could cripple the food industry as far back as December 2014[1]​, although the impact of the pandemic and Brexit could have made things worse.

Driver depletion

Driver Require points out that 10,000 HGV drivers a year are retiring, along with 20,000 quitting the job for a living. With the under-40 HGV driver pool remaining ‘steadfastly’ at 67,000, the industry is suffering a net depletion of its workforce of around 6,000 drivers per year.

“Our estimate of the severity of the issue could worsen as we better understand the rate of departure of the EU HGV driver contingent,”​ said Driver Require CEO Kieran Smith.

The think tank’s report puts forward several steps to alleviate the problem. These include negotiating with insurers to reduce limitations on the age of HGV drivers, targeted initiatives to bring back certain groups of HGV licence holders into driving for a career, and offering bus drivers the ability to cheaply and quickly convert their Category D licences into Category C (rigid HGV) licences.

Short-term

The FWD, meanwhile is calling for immediate action to reinstate the temporary extension of drivers’ hours from nine to 11 that was in place last year, and to speed up certification of new or lapsed drivers.

“Longer term, we’d like to see seasonal visas for EU HGV drivers, and the role added to the Home Office Shortage Occupation List,”​ the spokesperson said.

On a more positive note, they added: “We had a very constructive meeting with Defra officials this week who are clearly switched on to the potential threat to food supply if this distribution crisis isn’t addressed immediately.

“We will be working with Defra to demonstrate to other Government departments that while this is a long-term problem, it desperately requires a short-term solution.”

References

  1. ^ December 2014​ (www.foodmanufacture.co.uk)

Recap: M6 gridlock as fireball truck carrying tinned fish recovered

Motorists faced long delays on the M6 this morning after a truck carrying tinned fish caught fire.

Firefighters were called out to the blaze on the southbound carriageway between Junctions 16 for Barthomley and 15 for Hanchurch at around 1.30am this morning.

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service[1] sent engines from Newcastle[2], Sandyford[3] and Kidsgrove[4] to the scene.

As reported by StokeonTrentLive earlier this morning[5] the motorway was shut off while the incident was dealt with.

Recovery then took place with miles of delays as just one lane past the scene was open. Several miles of traffic was recorded during the height of the congestion while nearby roads were also busy as drivers headed off the motorway.

References

  1. ^ Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service (www.stokesentinel.co.uk)
  2. ^ Newcastle (www.stokesentinel.co.uk)
  3. ^ Sandyford (www.stokesentinel.co.uk)
  4. ^ Kidsgrove (www.stokesentinel.co.uk)
  5. ^ As reported by StokeonTrentLive earlier this morning (www.stokesentinel.co.uk)

Haribo warns it is struggling to deliver to shops in the UK

Not tangfastic! Haribo warns it is struggling to deliver to shops in the UK because of lack of lorry drivers as sweet lovers face shortage of jelly babies and mini-fried eggs

  • Several popular items have been hit by supply issues caused by lack of drivers 
  • Haribo also reportedly forced to cancel planned promotions on its share bags 
  • Road Haulage Association believes there is a shortfall of about 70,000 drivers
  • Industry insiders blamed mounting crisis on the impact of Brexit and pandemic 

Haribo has warned that the lorry driver shortage has left it struggling to deliver its much-loved sweets to UK shops.   

Popular items like jelly babies, gummy bears and mini-fried eggs could all be affected with the German firm the latest to be hit by supply chain issues. 

A Haribo spokesperson said that it was ‘experiencing challenges’ that were hampering supplies, like many other manufacturers and retailers.

It comes after a driver shortage triggered calls for the Army to be on standby to deliver food to convenience stores, pubs, restaurants and care homes.

The Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) says the situation has reached crisis point, leading to bare shelves and a risk of empty plates.  

A Haribo spokesperson said that it was 'experiencing challenges' that were hampering supplies, like many other manufacturers and retailers

A Haribo spokesperson said that it was 'experiencing challenges' that were hampering supplies, like many other manufacturers and retailers

A Haribo spokesperson said that it was ‘experiencing challenges’ that were hampering supplies, like many other manufacturers and retailers

The Road Haulage Association believes there is a shortfall of about 70,000 drivers.

It also believes that around 30,000 HGV driving tests did not take place last year because of the pandemic.

Experts also say that the double impact from Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic has sparked disruption to the chilled food supply chain.

Haribo is the latest to fall victim to the shortage, with the company being reportedly forced to cancel planned promotions on its share bags.

A spokesperson said: ‘As is the case with many manufacturers and retailers throughout the country, we are experiencing challenges with regards to the nationwide driver shortage.

‘We are working with partners across the food and drink industry to address and respond to this problem.’

The firm has told wholesale and retail customers it had a number of problems in the supply chain and was ‘working flat out to manage the situation’, according to trade paper the Grocer.

The lack of lorry drivers has led to fears of a shortage in a range of products, with the pandemic and Brexit being blamed. 

Typically, 72,000 candidates train to become HGV drivers, with 40,000 passing. But only 15,000 were able to complete training last year, the Road Haulage Association said.

The RHA has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning many drivers also returned to their country of origin during extended periods of lockdown and restricted travel, with the vast majority not returning.

The Road Haulage Association believes there is a shortfall of about 70,000 drivers. It also believes that around 30,000 HGV driving tests did not take place last year because of the pandemic

The Road Haulage Association believes there is a shortfall of about 70,000 drivers. It also believes that around 30,000 HGV driving tests did not take place last year because of the pandemic

The Road Haulage Association believes there is a shortfall of about 70,000 drivers. It also believes that around 30,000 HGV driving tests did not take place last year because of the pandemic

He was also quizzed on the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday this week.

Brexit is also playing a part in the shortage, according to the RHA, with many drivers unsure of their rights to work in the UK.

Retailers have been complaining for months over the issues, including Tesco and Currys PC World acknowledging the impact.

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, recently said: ‘Retailers are aware of a fall in HGV driver numbers, resulting in minor disruption to some supply chains.

‘Supermarkets are working closely with their suppliers to ensure that consumers still have access to the same great selection of goods.

‘Government must rapidly increase the number of HGV driving tests taking place while also looking for a longer-term solution to this issue.’

Local convenience stores are now resorting to putting up notices warning customers of shortages due to the lack of delivery drivers.

Pub and restaurant chains are also not getting the fresh produce deliveries they expect.

Supplies of beer, milk and other chilled products are being hit, while there are fears the situation might affect tanker deliveries of fuel to petrol stations.

James Bielby, chief executive of the FWD, said there is an estimated 70,000 shortfall in HGV drivers.

The Road Haulage Association said the crisis has been triggered by a combination of Brexit, which has led to a cut in European truckers, and Covid, which has seen no new HGV drivers trained for a year.

 Mr Bielby said: ‘The situation has reached crisis point and it is likely to get worse as more hospitality venues open and demand increases. The Government needs to act very quickly. 

‘We are concerned enough to suggest that the Government considers having Army trucks on standby to ensure there are enough vehicles and drivers to distribute food.’

It comes after Tim O’Malley, managing director of Nationwide Produce PLC – one of the biggest companies supplying fruit and vegetables to supermarkets and restaurants across Britain – warned fruit and vegetables are rotting in cold stores because of a major shortage of HGV drivers.

He has warned that perfectly good food is being left to rot as there are not enough truck drivers to transport produce across the country.

In an article in the Fresh Produce Journal, Mr O’Malley warned that his industry has been hit by Brexit, Covid-19 and changes to the tax system of HGV agency drivers.

Mr O’Malley wrote: ‘The acute shortage of HGV drivers is now the direct cause of perfectly good, graded and packed fresh produce being dumped or left rotting in cold stores, waiting for wheels to go under it.

‘Supermarket shelves and restaurant plates are going empty, and this is now a crisis of national importance.’  

References

  1. ^ Danyal Hussain For Mailonline (www.dailymail.co.uk)

Woman and child rushed to hospital after horror car & lorry crash on Scots road

A WOMAN and child have been rushed to hospital after a crash between a car and lorry on an Aberdeenshire road.

The pair were involved in the collision at the junction of the A96 and A920 in Huntly yesterday afternoon.

A woman and child were rushed to hospital after a crash between a lorry and car on the A96 in Huntly

1

A woman and child were rushed to hospital after a crash between a lorry and car on the A96 in HuntlyCredit: Google Maps

We previously told how emergency services rushed to the scene[1], near the town’s Tesco store, after the alarm was raised around 5.20pm.

Police confirmed one woman was rushed to hospital for treatment, and a child was taken as a precaution.

The condition of the pair is not known.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service confirmed cutting equipment, stabilisation gear and small tools were used during the rescue.


Ayrshire OAP nearly died after false widow spider bit him on EYE whilst gardening[2]


The A96 was closed in both directions for around three hours after the smash.

The busy route was reopened at 8.15pm after local diversions were put in place.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We were made aware of a two vehicle crash involving a car and a lorry at the junction of A96 and the A920 near the Tesco supermarket in Huntly around 5.20pm.

“The road was closed in both directions as emergency services attended the scene.

“One woman was taken to hospital for treatment, along with a young child as a precaution. The road was re-open by 8.15pm.”

Nicola Sturgeon issues urgent warning to Scots as Covid figures leap to record high 24-hour spike


We pay for your stories and videos! Do you have a story or video for The Scottish Sun? Email us at [email protected] or call 0141 420 5300[3]


References

  1. ^ emergency services rushed to the scene (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  2. ^ Ayrshire OAP nearly died after false widow spider bit him on EYE whilst gardening (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)
  3. ^ [email protected] (www.thescottishsun.co.uk)

Chaos on M6 as lorry carrying tinned fish erupts into fireball

A lorry packed full of tins of fish burst into flames forcing the M6 to shut for three hours.

The incident happened in the early hours of this morning on the southbound carriageway between Junction 16 A500 (Stoke-on-Trent/Crewe) and Junction 15 A500 D Road (Stoke-on-Trent).

Three fire engines tackled the raging fireball after Highways England alerted drivers just after 2.35am on Friday, reports Cheshire Live[1].

READ MORE: Millions who had AstraZeneca vaccine could be hit by summer holiday blow[2]

Traffic officers from the Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) were also at the scene and said it was the second of two separate vehicle fires[3] they had attended on the network during the night.

Officers also shared a dramatic picture of the incident, showing the HGV well alight, with parts of the lorry melted and huge plumes of black smoke in the air.

At around 5.50am, a spokesperson for CMPG said: “Not the ‘hot’ summer night D Unit were hoping for. This was the second of two separate vehicle fires we attended on the network with @StaffsFire and @HighwaysWMIDS. M6 currently closed at J16 S/B, diversion in place.”

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Later updates confirmed there would be no access to the southbound carriageway between junctions 16 to 14 while ’emergency resurfacing works’ were carried out.

Currently, traffic management system Inrix states two lanes are still closed due to recovery work of the lorry and its load of tinned fish, but traffic is coping well.

The cause of the fire has not yet been revealed.

It is not known if anyone suffered any injuries during the incident.

Were you caught in the chaos? Let us know in the comments section.

References

  1. ^ reports Cheshire Live (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
  2. ^ READ MORE: Millions who had AstraZeneca vaccine could be hit by summer holiday blow (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  3. ^ fires (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
  4. ^ click here (www.dailypost.co.uk)

Avara Foods responds after 5,500 chickens in lorry crash on A49

AVARA Foods says its investigating the possible causes of a crash which saw one of its lorries carrying more than 5,500 birds overturn near Leominster.

Emergency services were called to the A49 at Dinmore, between Hereford and Leominster, shortly after 9am on Thursday to reports of an overturned lorry and fuel spill.

West Mercia Police later confirmed 5,580 live birds were being carried by the articulated lorry.

RELATED NEWS:

Avara Foods, which has a chicken processing factory in Red Barn Drive in Hereford, said the chickens were its “immediate priority”.

“We can confirm a truck carrying chickens overturned earlier today,” a spokesperson for the company said.

“As live animals are involved our immediate priority is to take care of them, and there is a veterinarian at the scene assessing the birds.

“We are working with the police and highways to recover the vehicle in order to reopen the road as quickly as possible.

“The driver appears to be unhurt, but we are still investigating the possible causes of the incident, so there is little more that we can say at this time.”

OTHER NEWS:

Avara Foods refused to say how many birds were killed or injured.

Police said the road was expected to remain closed overnight on Thursday as work to repair barriers takes place, and resurfacing work was likely.

M6 shut for three hours after lorry bursts into flames

This was the scene on the M6 this morning when a truck burst into flames.

The dramatic image was captured by traffic cops as the southbound carriageway was shut off between junctions 16 for Bathomley and junction 15 for Hanchurch while emergency services descended on the area.

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service[1] took to social media at around 3.30am this morning to confirm that three engines were at the scene where firefighters were making ‘good progress’ in tackling the blaze.

Top story: Expectant mum, 21, feared for unborn baby’s life in A500 taxi crash[2]

Meanwhile traffic officers from the Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG) were also at the scene and said it was the second of two separate vehicle fires they had attended on the network during the night.

Highways England put out an alert to motorists via Twitter at 2.35am to say that all traffic had been temporarily stopped while the blaze was tackled.

More stories

Girl, 11, ‘cuts mouth on bone left in McDonald’s nuggets’[3]

Stokie busker hits back at ‘rude’ passerby who launched verbal attack in viral TikTok video[4]

Conservatives snatch narrow victory in Penkhull and Stoke by-election[5]

Pub windows smashed and police car damaged as yobs go on rampage in town centre[6]

School hit by Covid cases in two year groups gets students to self-isolate[7]

Later updates confirmed there would be no access to the southbound carriageway between junctions 16 to 14 while ’emergency resurfacing works’ were carried out.

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By 5.40am and one lane was shut before all lanes were back open by around 6.10am.

The cause of the fire has not yet been revealed.

It is not known if anyone suffered any injuries during the incident.