Germany is experiencing an acute shortage of truck drivers – World

Germany needs tens of thousands of truck drivers. Many Eastern Europeans returned to their home countries or found other jobs during the pandemic. The situation is becoming increasingly critical, he said Deutsche Welle.

Michael Jan has been working as a driver for a shipping company in Bamberg for 47 years. During this time, many things have changed – for the better, but also for the worse. The technical equipment of the trucks is becoming more and more modern, which makes it easier for the drivers, but the situation on the roads is becoming more and more tense, real battles are being fought for the parking lots as well. It is there, in the parking lots, that drivers wage another fight – against thieves who cut the tarpaulins of trucks at night and steal goods or drain fuel.

An unattractive profession for young people

These risks make the driver’s profession less and less attractive, especially for young people. Nearly 80,000 truck drivers are currently missing in Germany. About 30,000 drivers retire each year, and only 17,000 new ones enter the profession.

Getting a driver’s license for a professional truck driver is expensive – it costs several thousand euros. It is also a serious problem social dumping created by transport companies in Eastern Europe. The coronavirus has made it even more difficult for shippers to work.

Already in the spring of 2020, for the first time, the lack of drivers was acute. The pandemic then forced many Eastern Europeans to return to their home countries. Many of them found other jobs. And in the current wave of mass infections with the Omicron variant, the shortage of drivers is even more significant.

In Bavaria, for example, according to Rüdiger Elfline, between 5 and 10 percent of truck drivers are infected with coronavirus, and such a lack is difficult to compensate. European legislation also contributes to the outflow of those who want to become TIR drivers. For example, drivers have been banned from staying in the truck during compulsory breaks between courses, and employers are required to provide hotel accommodation. However, there are transport companies, mainly from Eastern Europe, which then deduct hotel costs from drivers’ wages. This effectively circumvents the European regulation.

Criticism of Eastern European companies

According to the new regulations in the EU, drivers must be able to return to their homeland if they have been abroad for four weeks. But this rule is also not observed, says Dirk Engelhard, a spokesman for the Federal Union of Freight Forwarders (BGL), to the public legal media network ARD. According to him, violations are regularly found in Germany – between 5 and 10 percent of drivers do not comply with the above requirement. This mainly applies to drivers of Eastern European freight forwarding companies. “If the rules are followed, prices in the industry could rise, making the profession more attractive,” said Bavarian freight forwarder Elfline.

Ukrainian, Romanian or Bulgarian drivers continue to work for little money – an average of 300 to 1,500 euros a month. In 2019, less than 1% of trucks were inspected in Germany. That is why the branch union is pushing for the expansion of this type of road control.

It is estimated that Eastern European transport companies already hold 40 percent of Europe’s freight market. German companies are trying to attract new recruits with higher pay, but the competition in the industry is too great.

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