More than 400 jobs are at risk after a chilled food delivery business collapsed into administration – in part as a result of the driver shortage.
EVCL Chill, based in Alfreton, Derbyshire, had struggled after the loss of a number of customers over the past year and severe driver shortages, administrators PwC said.
The business had 1,092 full-time employees, PwC said, 658 had been transferred to customers along with a number of services.
That leaves 434 jobs at risk across its warehouses and depots in Daventry and Crick in Northamptonshire, Alfreton in Derbyshire, Rochdale in Greater Manchester, Bristol, and Penrith in Cumbria.
PwC said EVCL Chill had a turnover of £167m in the 12 months to December 2020 and was profitable, but had been hit hard by a loss of customers and the current driver shortages.
Eddie Williams, joint administrator, said: “This has been a very difficult situation and involved intense discussions with key stakeholders on an accelerated basis to get to this position. As businesses move from survival mode to recovery, the financial climate is still very volatile.”
PwC said employees whose jobs had not been transferred to other firms would hear more next week. It said EVCL Chill going into administration did not affect the wider EV Cargo Group, which continued to trade as before.
The news of EVCL Chill’s collapse comes ahead of an expected announcement by the government that visa rules will be relaxed for foreign HGV drivers to get supply chains moving.
On Saturday, Tony Danker, the director general of the Confederation of British Industry, called for a “temporary and managed” system to bring in foreign labour. He told BBC Breakfast: “You need to be able to, on a temporary basis, on a fixed and managed basis, bring in skills we need now.”
Danker said the CBI welcomed the government’s ambition to recruit and train British workers, but said: “You can’t turn baggage handlers into butchers overnight or shopkeepers into chefs – you can do it over three to five years maybe, but you can’t do it overnight.”