Asphalt cowboys: Driver shortage is also an issue in Germany

Berlin (dpa) – The asphalt romance of the 70 years has long since become obsolete: today hardly any truck driver feels free, independent and daring behind the wheel of a 40 – Tonners.

Time pressure, lack of respect, loneliness and poor pay instead shape the image of the logistics industry, which is therefore desperately trying to attract young people with YouTube and Instagram campaigns, among other things . 35. 000 Drivers leave their jobs every year, only 15. 000 new students are trained in Germany. The industry has been complaining about the shortage of skilled workers for years.

There are many reasons for this: “On the one hand, it is due to the formal training conditions for companies and employees, which are rigid,” says Maximilian Pretzel, spokesman for the federal association Forwarding and logistics (DSLV). “But the demands of young drivers have also changed, for example with regard to the compatibility of family and work.” At the ramps at the shippers there is often a rough tone, which can also affect, says Pretzel.

Many drivers once came from the Bundeswehr, where they get a truck driver’s license free of charge as part of military service could. With the abolition of compulsory military service, it is over.

What happens when there are trucks but no one driving them can currently be observed in Great Britain. Strict Brexit visa regulations had led to a blatant shortage of skilled workers in the logistics industry. The Road Haulage Association estimates that there are about 100. 000 truck drivers missing. The result is massive delivery problems for gasoline and food. The army has been helping out since the beginning of the week.

The first voices are already warning that similar scenarios are threatening in this country if remedies for the driver shortage are not found soon: “We are also running into a creeping supply collapse in Germany” , says Dirk Engelhardt, board member of the Federal Association of Freight Transport, Logistics and Disposal (BGL). In two or three years, a situation similar to that in England is threatening. “Politics, business and society must therefore finally wake up and resolutely counteract the shortage of drivers in a collective effort.”

But the Verdi union, among others, contradicts these warnings. “I do not see it for Germany that it will be acute,” says Stefan Thyroke, head of the forwarding and logistics specialist group. In the short term, there could even be relief on the continental mainland because many drivers are now coming to the EU from Great Britain only meant the lack of drivers for local employees. ” Drivers from Eastern European countries have long been compensating for the lack of young talent in the industry in Germany and elsewhere. But from the point of view of many industry experts, this creates new problems.

Many drivers of Eastern European haulage companies lead, partly legally, partly illegally, to the conditions that apply in the respective countries of origin, says Thyroke. There are truck drivers who only come home twice a year. German haulage companies are coming under wage pressure, wages remain low, and the shortage of skilled workers is exacerbated. The regulations have been tightened so that they will soon also apply to more long-distance drivers. “But the reality is different,” says BGL board member Engelhardt. In order to enforce the rules, digital control options such as the tachograph are needed.

But couldn’t companies do more to improve their own attractiveness? Free driver’s license packages as part of the training, for example? Thyroke von Verdi criticizes only in exceptional cases, for example, that they take over the costs of the expensive but necessary training courses for truck drivers. Everything is too expensive for medium-sized companies, says Engelhardt. More than 10. 000 euros would cost a driver’s license and basic qualifications for starting a career together. Above all, the framework conditions and the image of the profession would have to change. Then the young people would come back again.

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