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The demand for transport services is still growing. Meanwhile, the transport capacity is decreasing. Freight rates have reached their record levels – German Business Insider reports. Reason? A lack of truck drivers that could lead to an economic catastrophe in the coming years.

Transport services are booming due to the dynamic development of the e-commerce market. Orders processed via the internet are usually delivered fairly quickly, even if the goods are traveling from abroad. It may change soon. According to the German Business Insider, a problem that is neglected may threaten the global economy. The issue in question is the lack of truck drivers.

Most of the goods are transported by lorries

According to the data of the Federal Office of Commodity Transport (BAG), 84.3 percent of goods in Germany in 2017 were transported by trucks. The share of road transport in total transport will continue to grow, albeit slightly, according to the BAG forecast. In the face of the growing lack of drivers and the growing demand for staff in the industry, this can mean serious problems both in Germany and in other European countries. For now, these trends result in higher prices – according to Business Insider, freight rates in Germany have reached a record high. And what if the current drivers will retire?

There will be a shortage of 150 thousand truckers

The capacity index has dropped. The demand for services is increasing, and so are the prices. Transport companies could continue to grow, were it not for the fact that it is difficult for them to find employees.

There is a shortage of young drivers and the elders will retire in the coming years. The age structure of German transport employees is very unfavorable. Last year there was a further increase in employment of older people and a decline among young employees. According to the BAG report, the percentage of professional drivers aged over 55 reached 27.8 percent at the end of 2016. That’s 2.3 percent more than in 2014.

The data provided by the German office confirms the concerns of the local transport associations. The problem of the lack of staff in German transport will grow. According to forecasts of trade unionists, in the next 15 years, two-thirds of drivers will go to pension benefits.

If the situation does not change and the industry does not attract young people to work, in the next decade the shortage of drivers will increase from the current 45 thousand up to 150 thousand – estimates the German economic weekly Wirtschaftswoche.

Truckers from abroad a remedy for the lack of drivers in Germany?

According to the German BAG, the share of foreign citizens among German truck drivers is growing year by year. The percentage of drivers with foreign citizenship in Germany in 2013 was only 9.1 percent. Meanwhile, in 2015, only employees from the other EU Member States accounted for 9.6 percent. At the end of 2016, the percentage of foreign drivers in German transport reached a record-breaking 15.5 percent. That’s mainly due to citizens of EU member states, such as Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Bulgaria. The number of Polish truck drivers who found a job in Germany exceeded 14 thousand in 2015, increasing by 159 percent compared to statistics from 2012.

A challenge for the whole economy

The problem of the lack of staff can no longer be ignored, because it affects not only transport, but also the entire economy, and soon also our everyday life. The German and EU economy faces a great challenge – sums up the „Business Insider”. It is time to look for solutions, including alternative ones, so as not to lead to a collapse in the European market in the future.

Photo: iStock

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