The finished vehicle sector in Europe is dealing with some major challenges at the moment, including an increasingly serious driver shortage, severe fluctuations in capacity demand because of the new emissions test that came in this September, and the introduction in 2020 of a global cap on sulphur content in marine fuels of 0.5%. There is also the continued uncertainty and potential disruption caused to the sector by the UK’s exit from the European Union next year. At last week’s annual conference of the Association of European Vehicle Logistics (ECG), held in Mainz, Germany, speakers discussed what they were doing to tackle these problems.
In terms of the driver shortage, ECG’s president Wolfgang Göbel presented figures showing that over the next 10-15 years in Germany alone, 40% of truck drivers would be retiring, which given current trends meant a shortfall of 150,000 drivers. He also pointed out that the UK was already short by 45,000-52,000 drivers, with another 35,000 likely to retire in the next two years.