03 December 2021
Logistics UK, which represents freight and haulage businesses, said the number of drivers leaving the profession had begun to ease.
The group also highlighted more trainees coming through the testing system as a cause for optimism.
However, it said more action was needed by the government and industry to make the sector attractive to new recruits.
Many UK sectors, from petrol stations to supermarkets, have experienced problems with deliveries due to the chronic shortage of lorry drivers.
The shortage of drivers is one of the reasons retailers have warned that consumers will have a reduced choice of food and drink at Christmas.
Logistics UK's report said that by early autumn there were 44,000 fewer HGV drivers compared to the same time in 2019.
But there has been a 25.6% increase in HGV driver tests from the July to September 2019 period compared to the same period in 2021 and a three-fold increase in applications for vocational provisional licences.
Average driver pay increased by 10% in the nine months to October 2021, the trade body said.
Elizabeth de Jong, policy director at Logistics UK, said the sector was seeing "green shoots" of recovery, and that in a few months, with more drivers trained, there will be an improvement in overall numbers.
"It is still a challenging time, there is still an acute shortage of drivers certainly but there a number of signs of improvement that could be coming," she said.
"We're seeing hope that more people are beginning to enter the industry, but we've got to keep attracting them by really improving the facilities."
She said that a lack of roadside facilities may be one of the reasons the industry is "seeing higher proportions of young people leaving".
Ms de Jong said there had not yet been an increase in the number of drivers employed, which would be the most important indicator that the situation had improved.
She also said she expects to see fewer deliveries due to the continuing shortage of drivers and other logistics workers, which could result in smaller ranges of products and difficulties restocking.
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