European countries have driver shortage of their own

American trucking companies are not alone when they say they cannot find all the truck drivers they need and will need in the future.

Trucks parked in BelgiumTrucks parked in Belgium

A new report says European trucking companies are facing similar problems.

Transport Intelligence recently released a study titled European Road Freight Transport 2018, which shows trucking companies are facing a shortage of some 150,000 drivers. The countries and their driver shortages include:

  • United Kingdom, 52,000
  • Germany, 45,000
  • France, 20,000
  • Sweden, 5,000
  • Norway, 3,000
  • Denmark, 2,500

The Loadstar, a British supply chain publication adds, “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.”

And, like in the U.S. part of the reason for the shortage is that many drivers are retiring.

Not surprisingly, some European drivers, like their counterparts in the U.S. have their own ideas about why companies are having a hard time putting seats in the seats. Comments in The Loadstar make familiar points and include:

Mark: “There is no driver shortage in the UK, there is a problem with driver retention because the wages have not moved with inflation since 1999, I earn £50 (about $63) per week more than in 1999, which with inflation probably equates to around half what I earn’t back then, drivers are constantly moving to try and find better rates and better working conditions because we are still treated like scum everywhere we go, drivers are sick of it, surprise surprise.”

Goosh: “Couldn’t agree more. We’re treated like scum of the earth and paid appallingly, yet expected to give so much of our lives to this career. It’s never taken into account how much of your personal life and family time is lost to this job. For what? 25 to 30k a year? A forklift driver can get that now and still get back to see his family in the evening.”

George: “Well, if they increase the wage and better working conditions, then it would be more attractive.”

John H: “There is no appetite amongst the young to work 14-15 (hours) a day to earn a decent living. I am a driver who has worked in the industry for 20 years and there is no way I would encourage my sons to take up a career in a(n) industry that is so behind the times. Also, somebody of a young age to enter into haulage have a(n) uncertain future with driverless vehicles on the horizon.”