According to industry estimates, the lack of truck drivers in Germany threatens to worsen the situation. “There is already a lack of between 80,000 and 100,000 drivers,” said the spokesman for the board of the Federal Association of Road Haulage, Logistics and Disposal (BGL), Prof. Dirk Engelhardt, the German Press Agency. “We get feedback from our transport companies that they have to turn down orders, that they no longer participate in tenders, that they sell or shut down vehicles because they don’t have the drivers.”

On the other hand, there are hardly any personnel problems in Germany because of the war in Ukraine because, unlike in Poland, for example, almost no Ukrainian drivers were employed here, Engelhardt said. But the shortage of truck drivers is constantly growing. “Because around 30,000 to 35,000 drivers retire every year and on average only around 15,000 to 20,000 new truck driver’s licenses are issued,” says the BGL board spokesman. According to the BGL, a third of truck drivers in Germany are 55 years and older.

If the development remains as it is, more than 230,000 drivers would be missing in ten years, Engelhardt calculates. “It’s five past twelve, not five to twelve.”

Reasons for the lack of attractiveness of the profession are the wage level, the bad image and the working conditions. Engelhardt said that work and private life are often difficult to reconcile for truck drivers. “Just like the difficulty in planning the tours, the traffic jams, the deadline pressure.” All of this meant that many said to themselves: “I won’t put myself through this stress anymore.”

Among other things, the BGL campaigns for more qualified immigration. Engelhardt advocates bilateral agreements with third countries such as Turkey with the aim of enabling the necessary qualifications there and employing trained drivers in Germany. Starting a corresponding pilot test offers tremendous opportunities.

From the point of view of the association, it would also make sense to change the driving license law. “If someone acquires a car driver’s license, he should be allowed to move trucks up to 7.5 or even 10 or 12 tons – as with the previous driving license class 3,” said Engelhardt. Simplifications in extending the driver’s license for truck drivers over 50 and online formats for the mandatory further training for truck drivers would also help.

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