German entrepreneurs from various sectors have created an alliance to fight the lack of drivers. They want to prevent a supply crisis and mobilize the government to act.
Road freight transport in Germany suffers from a constantly growing shortage of qualified drivers. As a result, bottlenecks in the logistics sector are clearly visible, which threaten the security of supply for industry, trade, and thus may adversely affect overall economic development.
Fourteen entrepreneurs’ organizations from various industries decided to take joint steps to solve the lack of transport staff, which is known to be key for almost all branches of the economy. Organizations have created an alliance and within its framework a 5-point preliminary plan that captures key areas of activity (the group wants to concretize and implement it as soon as possible). The associations call for joint efforts of representatives of politics, business and society. All relevant ministries will also take part in the initiative.
The plan has already been handed over to Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer.
It provides for activities in the following areas:
– greater recognition and increase of attractiveness of the driver’s profession,
– improvement of education and qualifications,
– image campaign,
– improvement of infrastructure,
– a comprehensive digitization strategy.
Lack of drivers in Germany
According to the statistics of the Federal Office of Motor Transport, about one million trained truck drivers are aged 45 or over. German truckers retire on average at the age of 60. For this reason, about 67 thousand drivers are leaving the profession each year. Unfortunately, new employees are not arriving at a similar pace. Last year, almost 27 thousand joined the industry. This means that from year to year, the number of vacancies in the German industry is growing by up to 40,000.
According to the members of the alliance, the driver’s profession must become more attractive. It is necessary to pay more attention to the respect of the truckers and better treatment at the loading and unloading ramps. Moreover, in addition to decent wages, comfortable and safe working conditions, drivers must be able to reconcile work and family life.
Improvement of education and qualifications
This point of the plan assumes facilitating the verification procedure of driving licenses for persons coming from outside the European Union. In addition, according to the Alliance, more emphasis should be placed on co-financing driving licenses for people entering the labour market through education vouchers and tax incentives.
In the opinion of German employers’ organizations, to improve the image of drivers and to encourage young people to work in this profession, a wide-ranging campaign with the support of the government is necessary. The focus would be on the ongoing digitization and automation, which change the requirements for future employees and offer great opportunities and increase the attractiveness of the profession.
Improvement of infrastructure
The condition of German infrastructure significantly contributed to the decline of the attractiveness of the driver’s profession. The condition of roads, parking lots and digital infrastructure requires urgent optimization. It is necessary to improve the condition of roads, smooth traffic and, above all, improve the management of roadworks. In addition, it is necessary to provide an adequate number of parking spaces, which are necessary for reasons of road safety and the reliability of supply chains.
Processes in the transport and logistics sector should be „connected”, intelligent and more efficient. The condition for this is the nationwide development of digital infrastructure. Equally important is the cooperation between the industrial know-how and specialized logistics experts. It should be improved with the support of all interested parties. Comprehensive digitization can reduce bureaucratic obstacles and speed up clerical checks. According to the alliance, an intelligent tachograph, like the e-CMR, should be applicable in Europe as soon as possible.