A Teesside transport company is continuing to enjoy rapid growth in 2015 despite the impact of a driver shortage in the sector.
Nicholson’s Transport has recruited five new staff since the start of the year as it benefits from the upturn in the economy.
The Billingham-based business has adopted a clear progression route for new and existing drivers in order to counteract the shortage which resulted from older drivers leaving the industry.
Managing director David Nicholson said: “We are certainly a growing business, having taken on new drivers in addition to the six we recruited last year.
“The volume of palletised goods coming into the North East has increased significantly in the past few months.
“But that has been countered by a worrying scarcity of experienced, qualified drivers. It’s something we predicted last year due to the Driver CPC requirements – retaining decent, qualified drivers is so much more difficult now.
“Some drivers feel they can take advantage of the shortage, giving them the confidence to move between haulage companies to secure the best deal.
“We are used to loyalty from employees, recognising and respecting our values and ethos, staying with us for the long term.”
David Nicholson set up his business in 1987 with just himself and a truck but now employs around 52 people with a fleet of 25 vehicles.
“In recent weeks, the business has had to restructure part of its 55,000 sq ft warehouse to cope with increasing volumes of palletised goods coming in and out of its depot.
The firm has adopted a back to basics approach when recruiting and training drivers, offering apprenticeships and access to qualifications, allowing staff to progress from vans or forklifts right up to HGV licences.
Nicholson’s Transport was also one of the first haulage firms in the region to get all of its drivers through their Driver CPC qualifications ahead of last September’s deadline.
Mr Nicholson added: “We are proud of being a successful North East company and want to promote the sector and the region. But for that to continue, the sector needs a steady supply of qualified and committed drivers.
“The market continues to pick up and it’s understandable that everybody wants a slice of that.
“I am confident the situation will improve and would urge others in the haulage industry to consider the same this route of producing home grown talent.”