Navigating the Fast Lane: Mental Health for Freight Forwarding and Logistics Professionals

Matthew Eshelby

17 October 2023

According to Mind, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health condition each year, with 1 in 6 reporting experiencing a common mental health problem like depression and anxiety on a weekly basis. Mental health matters and yet it seems to be a growing concern to those working within the logistics and freight forwarding industry. While we know physical health and safety are of high importance within this profession, maintaining positive mental health can be overlooked.

Our community continues to suffer from the demands of long hours, travelling long distances, receiving low pay, the cost of living, redundancy, the continuing impact of Brexit, managing strict delivery deadlines, and often face challenges such as adverse weather which is out of anyone’s control. Unsurprisingly, such challenges will lead to stress, anxiety, and exhaustion. Some drivers may even feel isolated from their loved ones as they spend long periods of time on the road

Together, such factors often result in concerns regarding mental health.

Let’s explore some of the current issues that people are possibly experiencing and what could be done to help.

The cost of living crisis

It’s no secret to anyone living in the UK that cost pressures from all industries have had a significant impact on everyone. The cost of basic needs including food, fuel, and housing is steadily rising.

However, those in the logistics and freight forwarding industries have felt the challenges due to rising operating costs, transportation prices, and warehouses. Making it difficult for companies to remain competitive, particularly if they’re not able to pass cost increases to their customers.

Another cost of living crisis concern that has impacted our industry is through a decrease in consumer spending, most individuals and families have reduced their non-essential spending, so demands for goods and services are no longer high. As a result, shipping volume has decreased, which has put a strain on logistics companies that rely on consistent shipping volumes to stay afloat.

During such a time, it is just as important to take care of yourself, keep in mind to:

1.     Connect with family and friends – healthy relationships are always important and social support is essential for good mental health. If you’re on the road, stay connected to those that are close to you. Take regular breaks from delivering or driving to contact your close ones

2.     Seek help if you’re struggling financially – it can feel overwhelming when the bills keep arriving and there is a temptation feeling to ignore them. Try not to do this, deal with them when they arrive, and contact the correct organisation or bank explaining your situation, they will understand. They may help you come up with a manageable payment plan. Citizen’s advice is also at hand to advise you of any benefits you could be entitled to that you’re not receiving

3.     Supporting your mental health – this could be through regular exercise, prioritising 8 hours’ worth of sleep and following a healthy diet 

The Brexit effect

International shipping has become more challenging as a result of new laws and tariffs brought about by the UK’s departure from the European Union. Which has given logistics companies a variety of fresh difficulties and opportunities.

One of the biggest issues being the increased cost of importing as well as exporting goods across the UK/EU border. Which has affected the supply chain, leading to higher expenses related to inventory, customs clearance, and other border operations. As a result, businesses have passed on such costs to their customers resulting in extreme retail prices and a cutback in demand.

Another impact that’s hitting the industry hard has been the welcoming of customs and border checks, resulting in an increase in paperwork required for custom clearance along with longer wait times for goods crossing the UK/EU border. Again, as a result, businesses are paying more for inventory costs since goods aren’t moving quickly enough across the border. Finally, Brexit has resulted in a decrease in the availability of qualified personnel, an increase in recruitment costs, and a labour crisis.

Despite the numerous problems that Brexit has created, there are steps that businesses may take to ensure their operations remain profitable, such as:

1.     Stay current on all new regulations – this can help you stay on top of any tariffs, causing less stress or worry when regulation changes or that may be introduced in the future

2.     Reducing the cost – businesses should look for ways to cut costs, such as finding new suppliers or streamlining their operations. This will not only relieve the load on logistics and freight forwarding professionals, but it will also be able to assist individuals who have felt the impact of rising living costs

3.     Territory expansion – the UK’s exit from the EU could result in the development of new trade agreements with other nations, which may lead to either an increase in costs or a mutual agreement to keep prices low 

Redundancy from current logistic or freight forwarding position

 The logistics industry relies heavily on skilled workers to help keep the supply chain in full circle. According to UK employment market figures compiled by the House of Commons, there were 102,000 redundancies from May to June 2023, a 39,000 increase over the previous year – (UK Labour Market Statistics)

Due to low employment rates and high vacancy levels, the labour market has been tight since 2022 and will continue to be this way during the last months of 2023. Most of those who want to work have been in work, meaning that recruitment has been more difficult than usual. This was motivated by the rise in the number of economically inactive people since the start of the pandemic. Lower net migration from the EU also caused a fall in the number of people in the labour market.

Whether it was unexpected or not, the word ‘redundancy’ is not one that any of us would like to hear. It can cause stress and anxiety to heighten or make existing mental health problems much worse.

Being made redundant is nothing to be ashamed of.

Take care of yourself during this time by:

1.     Understanding your rights – you can only be selected for redundancy fairly, it should never be based on gender, disability, age, or mental health quality

2.     Express and truly understand how you’re feeling – losing a job is a major life adjustment and you may experience an array of emotions, it’s essential to give yourself space and time to think about these feelings. Talk to your friends and family about what you’re going through during this difficult period

3.     Take some time off or keep busy – You will most likely try to adjust to a change in your typical routine, which can be tough following redundancy; you may wonder how to fill your time, especially if you haven’t been able to locate another job yet

 You have no control over redundancy; this also relates to the cost of living crisis and Brexit.

But what you can control is the beginning of your own future.

Carga provides ambitious freight forwarding and logistics professionals with the opportunities, strategic guidance, operational assistance, and funding to take your career to the next level.

Our three customised career paths and funding packages will provide you with the assistance you need to make your new career a reality.

If you’re not sure where to begin, consider the following options:

Flex

For experienced forwarding specialists who want to search for an alternative to starting their own business. If you’ve accepted an offer from us, we will get everything ready for you to kickstart your Flex journey.

The first month may feel intense, but we will introduce you to our transport platforms and refine processes to enable you to take control as fast as possible. Within six months we will review how you’re performing, ensuring you’re happy and whether you need any additional support.

At the end of the year, we will follow up with a detailed review to ensure continued professional and personal growth. Determine whether you wish to start building your own business and equity.

Discover more about our Flex option here: https://bit.ly/45ke90C

Build and Equity

For experienced forwarding experts who are interested in starting their own venture, we can provide you with the direction, operational assistance, tools, and investment you need to build a profitable business.

Within 30 days, we’ve gone through the application process and had a few meetings, hopefully, you’ve accepted an offer from us, then we will get everything ready for you to start your Build and Equity journey.

In the first month, you will go through the onboarding process (initial company set-up), including legal contracts, limited company registration, share-split schemes, and milestones for exit.

By three months, your business should launch your business with continued support and guidance as you embark on your growth journey.

Finally, at the end of year two, you should be up and running a profitable and fully functioning business, we will work with you to provide continued support and help you plan for future growth, events and even exit plans.

Discover more about our Flex option here: https://bit.ly/3E5qVUE

Employed

For the freight forwarding and logistic professionals who have what it takes to make something of themselves but aren’t quite ready to establish their own business yet. Join our parenting company Eshelby Group as a full-time employee, we will help mentor and guide you while you prepare yourself to take the leap into launching your own venture.

Within 30 days, the application process should be completed if you choose to accept an offer from us.

In the first month, you’ll undergo an intense couple of weeks to fast-track you to success, refining processes to enable you to take control as fast as possible.

The lead up to month six is a strategic review to ensure you are happy, running your branch to be as profitable as possible, and start planning for the next six months, ironing out any early obstacles along the way.

Finally, at the end of year one, a further detailed review would be put in place to ensure continued professional and personal growth for yourself, your team, and your branch. Determine whether you wish to add flexibility or start building your own business and equity.

Discover more about our Flex option here: https://bit.ly/3QEGVo4

At Carga, we want to empower all freight forwarding and logistics professionals to take control of their own futures. As part of Eshelby Group, a leading freight forwarding consultancy, we know exactly what it takes to build a successful and profitable business.

If you have recently faced redundancy or fancy a new challenge, please get in contact with us today. We want to help put you on the right pathway to success.

Your next journey starts here.

📧 me@wearecarga.com 📞 0161 519 0425