Only 127 fuel drivers from overseas have applied for temporary visas aimed at tackling shortages, the prime minister has said.
The government is offering immediate visas for 300 foreign tanker drivers to work in the UK from now until the end of March to deliver fuel to forecourts.
Mr Johnson said it was a “fascinating illustration of the problem”, which he added was a “global” issue.
However, he said there was a “particular problem in the UK”.
The government is offering a further 4,700 temporary visas in total for foreign food lorry drivers, which will last from late October to the end of February, in an attempt to avoid other supply chain issues. It is not yet known how many people have applied to this scheme.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, the prime minister said the haulage industry had “only produced 127 names so far” in response to the government’s scheme.
Under the government’s bespoke scheme, foreign fuel tanker drivers who successfully apply for visas will be able to work in the UK from now until the end of March.
The foreign drivers eligible for visas will not be limited to the EU, but the expectation is most of the drivers will be from Europe.
The government has said temporary visas are not a long-term solution and has urged firms to invest in a UK workforce.
Mr Johnson said the UK economy could not “go back to the failed model where you mainline low-wage, low-skilled labour”.
“It’s time for investing in people and skills.”