Europe loses more than 166,000 truckers due to the war in Ukraine


The russian invasion from Ukraine has aggravated the problem of lack of professional drivers in the European market of the merchandise transports by road, adding more than 166,000 vacancies to the estimated 380,000 to 425,000 by the end of 2021.

It is the number of truckers from Ukraine, Belarus and Russia who worked in Europe and that they could have left their jobs due to the conflict, according to data provided to Efe by the International Road Transport Association (Astic) based on the study The European Road Freight Rate Development Benchmark.

In Spainis added, in addition, the enormous Fragmentation of the land freight transport sectorwhich has more than 104,000 companies, of which only 4% are large companies.

Of the total number of carrier positions that were vacancies in Europe at the end of last year, between 80,000 and 100,000, corresponded to United Kingdom; 80,000, to Poland; between 57,000 and 80,000, at Germany; 71,000, to Romaniaand 34,000, to Franceaccording to the study, conducted in April by Upply, Ti and the World Transport Organization (IRU), of which Astic has been an active member since 1960.

Up to 20,000 vacancies in Spain

The next country with the most vacancies is Spainwhere the unfilled positions have increased from 15,000 to a figure of between 18,000 and 20,000to which the pandemicwhich has slowed down new registrations in 2020, as fewer driving tests have been carried out, while the number of electronic commercewhich, in turn, has increased the demand for freight mobility by road.

In Spain, the third EU country most dependent on roadsbehind of Ireland Y Cyprusit is key to attract young people to alleviate the lack of generational change, taking into account that 72% of freight carriers and 52% of bus drivers are over 50 years old.

After Spain comes Italy, which needs between 17,000 and 20,000 professional drivers, followed by Lithuania, where 10,000 are lacking; the Netherlands (7,000) and Belgium (4,000).

Poland and Lithuania, with more non-EU drivers

Poland and Lithuania are the countries of the European Union (EU) that employ the largest number of non-EU drivers, given that, of the total number of 228,000 certificates as professionals in road freight transport in circulation at the end of 2020, 103,000 (45%) had been issued in Poland and 67,000 (29%) in Lithuania. In Poland, almost 30% of drivers working in international transport are foreigners and mostly from non-EU countries, of which about 75% are Ukrainians and about 20% Belarusians.

However, some Polish freight transport operators claim that up to 80% of their drivers come from those countries, so they are “desperate” to fill all these vacancies, always according to the aforementioned report.

Due to the shortage of national personnel, the Polish government facilitated work for citizens of Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Moldova, who, in addition, expedited obtaining work permits for foreigners. In Lithuania, most of those third-country drivers are also Belarusians, Russians and Ukrainians.

The state of military emergency, the lockdown in Ukraine

Related news

After the Russian invasion on February 24, Ukraine announced the military state of emergencywhich automatically imposed the ban on men leaving the country between 18 and 60 years old. Those who were in the country at the time, including those who worked as truck drivers, were unable to leave, while many others who lived outside returned to Ukraine.

There were also cases where, given the situation, the residence cards or work permits of Russian and Belarusian drivers were not extended, while some employers in Europe have terminated employment contracts with truck drivers from those two countries. Furthermore, Russian and Belarusian drivers are also reluctant to drive in Europe and are returning to their home countries.


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