Driver shortage hits UK operations of Dutch-owned animal feed firm ForFarmers, which has UK HQ at Bury St Edmunds, as non-UK drivers leave country due to Brexit

Iain Gardner, chief operating officer of ForFarmers, and Yoram Knoop, chief executive of ForFarmers.

Iain Gardner, chief operating officer of ForFarmers, and Yoram Knoop, chief executive of ForFarmers. Picture: SARAH CHAMBERS - Credit: Archant

A shortage of drivers has hit an animal feed firm’s UK operations as non-UK drivers leave the country because of concerns about Brexit.

A ForFarmers vehicle. Picture: FORFARMERS

A ForFarmers vehicle. Picture: FORFARMERS - Credit: Archant

Dutch-owned ForFarmers, which has its UK headquarters in Bury St Edmunds, said in a trading update on the third quarter of 2017 that its operational costs had been temporarily pushed up as a result, and plans to improve its supply chain set-up “slightly delayed”.

“We experienced a higher than usual turnover of drivers which proved difficult to replace as a result of many non-UK drivers leaving the United Kingdom due to concerns around Brexit,” the firm said. “This negatively affected the reliability of the service to our customers. Improving this is our main priority, and there are already signs of a strong recovery.”

UK currency exchange rates were also hitting bottom lines. Chief executive Yoram Knoop admitted they were facing challenges in the UK, but remained positive about the mid to long term.

The firm’s UK sales volumes rose as a fall in feed demand in the dairy and pig sector appeared to be bottoming out, it said. ForFarmers is planning to open a new factory in Exeter in the third quarter of this year.