Automated materials handling equipment sees spike in demand as forklift driver shortages hit warehouses hard

Automated materials handling equipment sees spike in demand as forklift driver shortages hit warehouses hard

Midland Pallet Trucks, a provider of high-quality materials handling equipment including electric pallet trucks, aerial work platforms and forklift truck accessories, has seen a dramatic rise in the demand for its products as supply chain staff shortages hit the warehousing sector hard.

With a large shortfall in HGV and forklift truck drivers causing significant supply chain issues, warehousing managers are looking for new ways to increase productivity and reduce consignment preparation times in order to meet strict deadlines and ensure that gaps in supermarket shelves stay at a minimum.

With shoppers already being faced with certain products not being available during their weekly grocery shop, Brexit and the ‘pingdemic’ are being blamed for the lack of qualified HGV and forklift truck drivers behind  many of the disruptions between warehouses and retailers.

A recent study by Logistics UK showed that in 2019, 79,000 EU nationals left the UK logistics industry with further forklift truck drivers leaving the industry due to the Covid pandemic accounting for in excess of 7,000 UK unfilled forklift wide vacancies in the sector.

This has resulted in an estimated shortfall of 25% in forklift truck staff to fill growing vacancies, meaning that warehousing staff are looking towards automation to help keep up with strict productivity targets. Staff shortages are accelerating the adoption of new technologies and materials handling equipment to help workers keep pace as the shortfall is set to continue.

Phil Chesworth, Managing Director of Midland Pallet Trucks, said, “We’ve seen a significant upturn in demand for our materials handling equipment over the last few months. Electric pallet trucks are one of our best-selling products as warehouses look for ways to shave off time and pressure for remaining workers with forklift truck drivers in short supply.

“Although this technology was very much part of the future of the industry, these staff shortages have only served to increase the need for time-saving products on the floor.”

To find out more about the wide range of automated materials handling products available for delivery from Midland Pallet Trucks, visit