to main page send e-mail Last Updated:  Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Lost for words? Let The Mover find them for you!

The independent voice of the global moving industry


Driver shortage throughout Europe

Feb 02, 2019
A recently released report, European Road Freight Transport 2018, claims that Europe has a shortage of HGV drivers of around 150,000. The UK is the worst affected with 52,000 vacancies and Germany has 45,000 vacancies.

Freight Transport AssociationIn Germany it is expected that two-thirds of drivers will retire and there are only 2,000 new drives qualifying each year.  France, meanwhile, has a shortage of 20,000 drivers with Sweden, Denmark and Norway reporting 5,000, 2,500 and 3,000 shortages respectively. Numbers have not been collected for the remaining European countries however the anticipation is for a similar trend throughout the continent.

There is speculation about the reasons for the decline, including the increase in manufacturing in Eastern European countries that is providing alternative jobs to would-be drivers.  However, there are other factors that are plain for all to see. 

Increasing congestion on the roads makes driving difficult and schedules difficult to maintain.  The advancing level of technology means drivers have lost some of the comparative freedoms they enjoyed in the past.  The tachograph was named the ‘Spy in the Cab’ when it was introduced in the 1980s but today drivers are continuously monitored with telematics, cameras and digital tachographs. What was in the past, perhaps, a job for someone who enjoyed the freedom of the road and some level of solitude, has now become an intensely supervised profession. 

There is also the fear of losing the job as a result of a comparatively minor offense that could affect an otherwise diligent driver suffering from a momentary lack of concentration of which all drivers are guilty from time to time. In the UK the rest facilities for drivers are notoriously inadequate which is unlikely to attract anyone into the profession. And trying to park an HGV, whilst waiting to be tipped or having run out of hours, is very difficult.

The moving industry, of course, has a particular problem as drivers are also expected to be packers, porters and even foremen.  Please send in your comments and potential remedies to  How can the moving industry maintain a reliable supply of drivers in the future.

Britain needs European drivers

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) believes that Britain needs to recruit drivers from throughout Europe. 

“Having the freedom to recruit from across the EU has helped to keep our lorries and vans on the road but with uncertainty surrounding the parameters of a future immigration system, the logistics sector is concerned that there just won’t be enough drivers available to transport the goods and raw materials the UK is reliant upon,” said the FTAs Sally Gilson. “The Migration Advisory Committee report recommended restricting lower-skilled immigration:  however, logistics businesses are reliant on those workers to keep goods and services moving.  Unless domestic workers can be incentivised to switch careers or take up a meaningful apprenticeship in logistics – something which the industry has been pressing government on for a while – businesses will remain dependent on these migrant workers.  Without them, goods and services will simply fail to move around the country and across its borders. FTA is urging government to build its future immigration policy on what the UK requires to keep trading, not on a qualification or salary levels.”

Ms Gilson added that the sector is working hard to attract new home-grown talent but is competing against many other sectors that are also suffering skills shortages.

ISS Relocations: UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and India
     Click here to send us your stories
     October 2019 - 19,489 page views
     List of advertisers
     Directory of suppliers
  Maxi Mover - low floor Luton van sales
Cookies: This site uses non-invasive cookies to provide an enhanced visitor experience and to measure site performance.  By viewing this website you are agreeing to our use of cookies in this manner.  For further information on how cookies are used on this site, please see our privacy policy.
Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Use  All material © 2011 The Words Workshop Ltd.