The effort to meet the demand, which increases at the same rate as the globalization rate, increases the importance of the logistics sector day by day. Every product, from a pin to heavy industry machinery, is subject to import and export. In line with the growth of the sector, companies receive technology support to meet the demand. For example, autonomous trucks have been designed to reduce labor power in road transport. But it is not widely used yet.
More than 20 million trucks were produced in the world only between 2016 and 2017. The circulation of products around the world is becoming more and more widespread, and there is a need for drivers to use these vehicles as well as the vehicles required for the circulation of products. However, the driver’s need cannot be met as easily as the vehicle’s need. Due to many reasons such as difficulty of work conditions and wage levels, the preference rate of the profession decreases.
USA is one of the countries where this profession is preferred the most worldwide. Trucking is the most common job in all 30 states in the USA. According to the American Truck Drivers Association (ATA), there are 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the USA. According to the report of the American Transport Research Institute (ATRI), 898,000 new truck drivers will be needed in the next ten years. Half of them will be required to replace retired truck drivers. The demographic structure of the profession feeds the labor shortage. About 56% of drivers are over 45.
This is not just a US case. The average age of the driving profession is high worldwide. It is estimated that 40% of drivers will retire in Germany in the next 10-15 years, and given the current trends, 150,000 more drivers will be needed. It is estimated that 35,000 drivers will retire in the next two years in the UK, and the driver’s shortage will rise to around 52,000. In India, approximately 10% of Indian truck fleets are not available due to the lack of drivers.
There are a number of solution suggestions to fix the driver deficiency. Among these are the improvement of wages. But in countries where the wages are relatively high, such as the USA and Switzerland, there is a lack of drivers. At this point, the reason for decreasing the trend towards the sector is taken into account due to the difficulty of working conditions.
In 2015, the National Transport Confederation (CNT) established a center network around Brazil to ensure that truckers have access to a range of welfare, medical and entertainment services while away from home. This application continues to be supported as truck drivers with no specific working hours improve their working conditions.
Government incentives are another solution proposal. For example, in 2015, the British Road Transport Association provided up to £ 3,000 to potential drivers to cover training costs. At the same time, efforts are underway to improve the facilities where drivers stay during the journey.
On the other hand, the participation of labor, which remains idle in order to increase employment in the sector, can also be an important alternative source to meet the driver’s need. States that are aware of this, are doing the necessary sociological studies to employ women and ethnic minorities in this sector. For example, considering that only 6% of truck drivers in the US are women and almost all of the employment is made up of white drivers, a remarkable source of labor can be produced by attracting African Americans and women to the sector.
The lack of drivers in the industry impedes staff selectivity. This situation reinforces conflicts and disagreements between drivers. Taking into account the financial value of the goods transported by logistics companies and the direct impact of safe transportation on brand perception, considered for drivers, it becomes more clear.
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