The European road transportation market faces huge challenges. Some challenges like truck development and decarbonization can be completed in a few years, but lack of drivers is a growing problem that is difficult to address. Due to these conditions, the driver shortage in many places is even less than one driver per vehicle, which should be at least 1.4 to 1.5 drivers per vehicle, according to Girteka. The European Road Freight Benchmark published by The Upply, Ti & IRU for Q1 2023, also highlighted some key data for European road freight rate and driver shortage.

As per a new IRU report, the driver shortage in Europe is to triple by 2026 if no action is taken. As estimated in the report, the difference between retiring and new drivers is set to triple the rate of unfilled truck driver positions, to more than 60%, and increase by over five-fold for bus and coach drivers, to almost 50% by 2026.As per a speculation, Europe could lack over two million drivers by 2026, impacting half of all freight movements and millions of passenger journeys, if no action is taken to make the driver profession more accessible and attractive.

Recently, to overcome this challenge, Girteka Transport came up with a plan to focus on attracting professional drivers to work in Europe for Girteka by opening new branches in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The Girteka Group have more than 3,000 professional drivers that come from countries in Asia as of today. Girteka clearly focusses on making the job itself more attractive, and the recruitment process more transparent, efficient, and quicker.

“A shortage of drivers is an issue that became a global one, affecting not only Europe but the entire world. In Europe alone, we are missing approximately 400-450 thousand professional drivers. And there is no simple solution to it, as many drivers will soon retire and there is no potential and attractiveness of the job among the young generations, yet. I said yet, as I think that Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are examples and a beacon of hope, that there is a future for this kind of job and room for professionals to develop,” says Mindaugas Paulauskas, CEO of Girteka Transport, part of Girteka Group.

“The new office of Girteka Transport in Kazakhstan will empower us to promote the profession of truck driving locally. We take great care to ensure that our recruitment process is transparent, safe, and secure for all potential drivers,” says Oksana Karpovičienė, Head of HR Expansion at Girteka Transport.

With the new branches, Girteka will not only alleviate the driver shortage but also address the demands and requirements of drivers in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in a quick and transparent manner that benefits both parties. Just the beginning includes streamlining the application process, outlining all the prerequisites for employment offers, and offering driving exams to guarantee the calibre of road transportation services.

Drivers from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are developing crucial expertise and abilities that will subsequently be used to offer logistical services throughout Europe, starting with highly thorough training during the onboarding process and continuing with recurring practical and online training, stated Girteka.

Collaboration with nations outside of Europe, such as Kazakhstan or Kyrgyzstan, is one of the lowest hanging fruits, in addition to making the requirements and procedures for obtaining a professional driving license easier and so drawing more individuals. Expanding new offices proves to be a good solution to the driver shortage problem and Girteka takes a lead in it.

To tackle driver shortage issue, in March 2023, The European Commission (EC) also came up with a set of proposals. The EC said that it would introduce several new measures regarding road safety and licenses in the EU, including a digital driver’s license, as well as to allow 17-year-olds to start learning the ropes of driving and truck driving. “Those who pass at 17 will be able to drive alone from their 18th birthday, and to work as a professional driver as soon as a specific job allows. This will help address the current driver shortage,” the EC argued.

There has always been a risk of a driver shortage, so EU institutions and authorities need to reconsider their stance on finding new solutions, such as hiring drivers from outside the EU. Because regulations and helpful governmental actions are always outpaced by the market, as history has shown, highlighting, and demonstrating best practices will help maintain steady and reliable growth of supply chains in Europe and its economy in the years to come.

Author: Meghna Mishra

Source: Ti Insight

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