Jane Stevenson, MP for Wolverhampton North East, visited local haulage business Onboard Corrugated on Neachells Lane last week to find out more about the challenges facing the industry and the impact of COVID-19 on the sector and local businesses.
Jane joined representatives of Onboard Corrugated, a manufacturing business with a focus on paper and packaging, for a tour of their site to find out more about their crucial manufacturing and delivery fleets. The visit also presented an opportunity for hauliers in Wolverhampton to highlight the continued difficulties that the wider UK haulage sector is facing, including the impact of COVID-19 and the shortage of drivers which continues to disrupt vital supply chains.
With 89% of all goods transported by land in Great Britain moved directly by road, the industry is a vital part of the West Midlands economy. The haulage industry is calling on the Government to introduce an HGV Driver Taskforce to bring industry and Government together to agree and deliver short- and long-term solutions to the driver shortage.
Jane said: “I was delighted to be able to visit Onboard Corrugated in my constituency and learn more about their hugely important manufacturing and delivery work, which brings vital business to the area. It was disappointing to hear about how wider sectorial issues such as the ongoing shortage is impacting their business. I will continue to urge the UK Government to build on recent announcements and continue to support our local businesses which are so crucial to our community.”
Paul Jundu, Director & Managing Partner of Onboard Corrugated, said: “It was fantastic to have Jane visit our premises in Wolverhampton and to have the opportunity to show her our state-of-the-art manufacturing system and HGVs. As a manufacturing business who operates our own transport fleet, we have experienced the impacts of the driver’s shortage first hand and urge the UK Government to work with industry to establish a clear set of short- and long-term solutions to ensure we can continue to carry out our essential work.
“We also import our paper and are still experiencing delays at ports and customs process needs to faster. As a country we must rethink and restart apprenticeships now to raise the skills of our future generations.”
A representative of the Road Haulage Association said: “We are very grateful to Jane for taking the time to visit Onboard Corrugated and for taking the time to listen to our concerns for the future of the industry. There has never been a more challenging time for the haulage industry. The UK Government must act now or risk even more drastic disruption than we have already seen in recent months.”