During a debate on the European vehicle logistics sector, drivers urged member states to help improve conditions for drivers or risk continuing manpower shortages.
European Member States must ensure an adequate number of safe, secure parking places for drivers. Germany alone lacks approximately 14,000 truck parking spaces and certified parking spaces are urgently required. Germany is the largest transport country in the EU and 43% of trucks on German roads at any given time are from other European countries.
Current legislation on Drivers’ rest times is meaningless without sufficient, secure parking to allow drivers to leave or rest in their trucks in safety.
Speaking on March 20 at the Annual ECG Dinner Debate in the European Parliament, four drivers addressed a 140-strong audience of EU lawmakers, logistics service providers, car manufacturers and other stakeholders to share their experiences and perspective of daily life on EU roads.
Three central themes emerged, the urgent need for safe and secure parking, drivers’ rest times and the need to improve driver conditions to encourage more young people to join the profession.
Europe’s transport sector provides 10 million jobs in Europe and accounts for 5% of GDP. More than 100,000 Europeans are employed directly by the vehicle logistics industry and an additional 253,000 are indirectly employed in the sector.
Addressing the animated and engaged audience which included five MEP colleagues along with Commission and Council representatives, host MEP Wim van de Camp (EPP, NL), spoke of the real need to address driver shortages by improving driver conditions and making the career more appealing to young drivers.
In Germany, there is already a need for more than 45,000 drivers and the average age is 47 for a driver. In the UK, the average age is even higher at 55 and 45,000-52,000 additional drivers are currently needed in the UK.
Also speaking, Jocelyn Fajardo, Deputy Head of the Cabinet of Commissioner Bulc, European Commission, acknowledged the lack of safe and secure parking places in Europe and urged Member States to provide an adequate environment for investment in suitable facilities. Parking places must not only be secure but should include sanitary and other facilities.
ECG – The Association of European Vehicles Logistics is committed to the well-being of its members’ drivers and road safety is of critical importance to all. ECG President, Wolfgang Göbel (pictured at left with Mike Sturgeon, Executive Director of ECG, MEP Wim van de Camp and Moderator Jan Bergrath), underlined that whilst the sector is multimodal 70% of ECG members provide road transport services and the mobility package is of central importance to their daily work. “The European road haulage industry is massively impacted by driver shortage. ECG members are ready to invest in a variety of initiatives such as agreements to share safe parking on compounds between members and investment in hotels for drivers. However, change cannot be achieved by private investment alone. Support at EU and Member State level is essential”.
ECG holds its Dinner Debate each Spring in the European Parliament to debate subjects of current interest to the sector. This year’s event saw a record breaking turnout of over 140 participants. It was hosted by MEP Wim van de Camp and discussion was particularly vibrant with opinions shared by lawmakers, stakeholders, car manufacturers and drivers. Please see the ECG website for full programme and presentations.