The truck driver crisis is intensifying globally, transporters warn

More than three million truck drivers are needed worldwide, and this figure is expected to double in the next five years, according to a report published on Monday by the International Road Transport Union (IRU).

photo trucks parked in line

The truck driver crisis is intensifying globally

In total, 7% of truck driver positions available now cannot be filled, is the conclusion of the study, which targeted 4,700 transport companies from 36 countries in Europe, Asia and America. The shortage worsened during 2023 and more than half of the companies had problems recruiting qualified drivers.

However, Europe and the USA suffered less, because inflation caused a decrease in consumption and, consequently, in the demand for transport services, IRU claims.

The driver shortage is likely to worsen over the next five years, particularly in China, Europe and Turkey where the driver workforce is aging and there are few truck drivers under the age of 25 to take over, which would be a “demographic bomb“, emphasizes the IRU.

In 2028, there could be a shortage of seven million truck drivers, which would complicate logistics flows and increase transportation costs.

The IRU calls on governments to facilitate and accelerate the training of young people in road transport trades, by lowering the minimum age for entering this profession, and to better finance professional training.

In addition, given that only 6% of truck drivers were women in the countries included in this study, the feminization of the profession must be encouraged, according to the IRU.

But the attractiveness of this job is limited by the long periods that must be spent away from home as well as by the difficult working conditions.

The lorry driver crisis is highly visible in Britain, where immigration rules will be relaxed for foreign workers. This autumn, the UK Government tried, without much success, to recruit lorry drivers who were offered temporary work visas, as this is another sector facing a serious staffing crisis.

According to the British authorities, workers in this field will benefit from a temporary work visa for 12 months and must receive an annual salary of at least 20,480 pounds. They will have the right to bring dependents, including a partner and children, to the UK. The measures are expected to enter into force early next year.

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