European road transport firms are racing towards a driver shortage crisis of 150,000 unfilled jobs, according to new research from Transport Intelligence.
In a report released this week, European Road Freight Transport 2018, the supply chain analyst shows that in just six countries – the UK, Germany, France, Denmark Sweden and Norway – the shortage of drivers adds up to 127,500.
The UK leads the way with a shortage of 52,000 drivers, but is closely followed by Germany at 45,000 vacancies – with predictions that this could increase by a staggering 28,000 each year.
The report says: “In Germany, the DSLV transport union reports that in the next 15 years, two-thirds of drivers will retire. Germany is facing a shortage of 45,000 truck drivers, with around 30,000 leaving the profession every year. This compares with only 2,000 people receiving truck-driving qualifications each year.”
France has a shortage of 20,000 drivers, while road freight associations in Sweden, Denmark and Norway report shortages of 5,000, 2,500 and 3,000, respectively.
This, of course, leaves out more than 20 countries in Europe where numbers have not been collected – although it is safe to assume that similar trends are likely across western countries, where driver numbers have been on the decline for the past two decades.
This gap in the labour market has been partly filled by an influx of East Europeans, but the report warns there is a limit as to how much this will ease the driver shortage.
One problem is the increasing appetite among global manufacturers to site production facilities in central and eastern Europe, which has provided an alternative source of jobs for many would-be drivers.