Dairy giant Arla has been hit by the lorry driver shortage which has forced it to cut back on its deliveries to the shelves of most UK supermarkets.
The milk producer typically supplies some 2,400 stores daily but has struggled with a trickling supply of drivers since April, its UK managing director Ash Amirahmadi said.
“Last Saturday, there were 600 stores that we couldn’t deliver milk to,” he told the BBC, adding that he expects there to be a summer of disruption.
“It’s very worrying for customers when they go into shops and find that the shelves are empty,” he continued, urging the government for support.
“Our assessment is that we’re in a driver shortage crisis and therefore we’re asking for the industry and government to work together to recognise we’re in a crisis and actually address the issue.”
Amirahmadi said the government could help the industry by speeding up its scheme of driving tests for new HGV drivers.
The managing director also suggested temporary visas specifically for the road haulage industry, which would allow for more European drivers post-Brexit to be allowed into the country.
There is a shortfall of around 100,000 lorry drivers, according to the Road Haulage Association (RHA).
Transport secretary Grant Shapps confirmed the UK will offer a temporary extension to lorry driver’s working hours, from nine to 10 hours a day, earlier this month.
But the RHA has cautioned that more permanent measures be put in place, to avoid the relaxation being a “sticking plaster”.