Criticism over the decision
There has been much criticism surrounding this decision to close the truck stop. This is especially because of the current lorry driver shortage. New drivers will not be wanting to travel all that way to then have nowhere to go once the working day is done. This truck stop is one of the only stops on the A14 near Ipswich.
Closing the stop could have a negative impact on the moral of truck drivers and certainly is not going to encourage new drivers to join the force, something we desperately need amongst the lorry driver shortage.
The eviction notices for the lease holders at the Orwell truck stop at Nacton were served this month. The plan is to develop this truck stop into warehousing. Development plans for this were granted in 2018 and detail how the 60-acre site will create 1,500 new jobs.
The worsening of truck driver conditions
The closure of this truck stop has faced massive backlash from the lorry driver community, as it has been seen as a slap in the face to the force. There have been talks of strikes from the lorry driver force as their working conditions have been worsening over time.
The industry is currently dealing with a massive loss of 100,000 lorry drivers. Decisions like this one, to close one of the only truck stops near Ipswich, is only ging to worsen the situation. The industry is trying to source lorry drivers, and CEO’s and owners of truck companies are having to resort to learning to drive HGVs and lorries themselves, as they currently have no workers to man the vehicles.
The decision to close the truck stop near Felixstowe port, is going to make things that much harder for the road freight industry.
The Orwell truck stop offers hot showers and hot food for truck drivers and can offer parking for up to 150 HGVs. This is 150 HGVs that will now no longer have anywhere to go after completing a 15 hour shift.
Secretary of the Suffolk road haulage branch of Unite and truck driver, Richard Allday, has said “The problem with the Orwell truck stop disappearing is there will be nowhere safe and secure within an hour’s drive of Felixstowe port for drivers who may have been living in the cab all week and may be coming towards the end of a 15-hour shift to stop…without it they won’t be able to get a hot meal. They won’t be able to have a shower, or even wash their hands and face.
“When people complain about the unsanitary habits of lorry drivers it’s almost always because they literally do not have any other place to dispose of their bodily functions.”
Safety for drivers
All drivers deserve to feel safe and secure, just like in any other job role. Many drivers do not feel listened to and rather feel ignored.
After the closure of this stop, drivers will have even less choice of where to park up after their shifts and will need to park in laybys and industrial estates, with no clean facilities or anywhere to grab a hot meal.
There is no worse time than now for this closure, as we try to build our working driver force back up after the loss of so many drivers.