Autobahnraststätte, BAB Tank- und Rasthof Bottrop Süd, an der Autobahn A2, bei Bottrop, voller LKW Parkplatz, Motorway rest area BAB Tank and Rasthof Bottrop South to the Highway A2 at Bottrop full Trucks Parking

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.”

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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.

The problem is different: just-in-time production, with the constant transport of intermediate products and supplier parts, is simply no longer up-to-date and practicable.

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.