Having established that if there is a driver shortage next year due to the Driver CPC UK operators will not be able to recruit drivers from abroad that don’t hold the certificate – regardless of whether they are from one of the eight countries in Europe that have an extension until 2016 - The Hub has been pondering what else autumn 2014 may conceivably hold for road transport.

First, a visit to pallet network Palletline last week found business to be booming.

MD Kevin Buchanan said that with so many smaller operators having gone or going out of business -  or simply calling it a day, which is something that shows no sign of slowing despite the gradual improvements in the UK economy – there already exists a shortage of trucks to service work (although this does not appear to be translating into improved rates just yet).

Against this backdrop a conversation with an owner-driver this week about Driver CPC was illuminating. He repeated the same point that seems to be echoing consistently along in the market at the moment, namely that a number of older drivers – especially those within the PAYE system that effectively have to sacrifice their pay to undertake Driver CPC – are considering jacking-in their jobs rather than undertake the required 35 hours of periodic training.

“I can write it off as a business cost, but it’s different for those guys,” he said. “Of course from my point of view as a freelancer it’s looking like a good thing as I’m hopeful rates will go up as a result [of a shortage]."

But on the the point that eight European countries have a Driver CPC extension – including Germany and the Netherlands – he can see how this could hurt UK plc.

“I do a lot of air freight work for a Dutch company. At the moment they are happy to use both Dutch and UK hauliers to move goods. But if there’s a shortage of UK drivers or trucks that business will go to the Dutch by default."

Effectively, as they have until September 2016 to complete their Driver CPC and shouldn't be short of drivers or vehicles.

Why, oh why?

In regards why the UK is going with the 10 September 2014 deadline for Driver CPC, a spokesman for the DfT has been in touch to explain that “the standard date for its introduction across the EU is September 2014".

"Some member states have applied for a delay using a limited criteria – the government has judged that the UK did not meet that criteria”.

Quite what the criteria that allows an economic powerhouse such as Germany longer to comply with Driver CPC than the UK is, the Hub hasn't yet worked out but needless to say the question has been asked.