Freight forwarding
1. December 2022

The lack of drivers in Europe would quadruple by 2026 if nothing is done

  • Driver demand increased by 44% in Europe between January and September of this year
  • By 2026, 30% of drivers will be retiring, while the number of younger successors will be 4–7 times lower
  • By 2026, Europe’s overall shortage might reach two million
  • Key information on driver access, appeal, and industry solutions are included in a new IRU report

According to a recent IRU assessment, Europe’s truck, bus, and coach driver shortages are out of control due to rising transportation demand and an aging driver population.

The growing chasm among retiring and new drivers is set to triple the rate of unfilled truck driver positions, to over 60% by 2026, and rise by more than five-fold for bus and coach drivers, to about 50% by 2026.
The new analysis evaluates six countries for passenger transport, which accounts for 28% of the total, and six countries, which account for two thirds of all road freight in Europe.

By 2026, Europe could have roughly two million fewer drivers than it currently has, which would affect half of all freight transfers and millions of passenger trips.
Despite the fact that driver pay can be up to five times greater than the national minimum wage, the report presents disturbing data on barriers to entry, particularly for young people, and the attractiveness of the driver profession, particularly for women.
Europe’s driver shortage crisis is accelerating rapidly, posing a major threat to the continent if nothing is done, “ commented IRU Secretary General Umberto de Pretto.
Trucks transport 75% of Europe’s freight by volume, and 85% of its perishable, high value and medical goods, such as vaccines and food. Bus and coach services, the most used collective transport mode in the EU, are central to Europe’s decarbonization goals
,” he continues.

Solutions presented

Together, the public and private sectors must address the driver shortage. The paper lists 20 solutions that shippers, businesses, and groups involved in road transportation are presently using.

To stop the shortfall from getting worse, the government must also take the following actions:
–        establishing a minimum driving age of 18 with training beginning at age 17
–        assisting new drivers with their license and training expenses
–        expanding the number of protected parking spaces

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