According to the latest IRU report, up to 425,000 truck driver vacancies remained unfilled in Europe in 2021. In 2021, the number of such vacancies increased by 41% compared to 2020. The shortage of staff in transportation will worsen in 2022, with an estimated 40% increase in unfilled vacancies in HGV driving.
It is worth noting that the greatest driver shortages were observed in the United Kingdom (80,000-100,000), Poland (80,000), Romania (71,000), and Germany (57-80,000) in 2021.
One of the reasons for the growing shortage of drivers is the weak influx of young people into this profession. The average age of HGV drivers in Europe in 2021 was 47 years old, and there is less than 7% of truck drivers under 25. The Netherlands has the most of young drivers (13%), with the UK having the least (2.2%).
The increase in drivers’ wages due to growing shortages has been one of the key factors in increasing the operating costs of carriers, along with the increase in the cost of diesel fuel (fuel costs can now account for up to 50% of total operating costs).
The IRU report stated that the revenues of the European road freight sector in 2021 were about 5% lower than pre-pandemic levels. Economic and business support programs implemented by the governments of European countries have prevented a wave of bankruptcies. However, the authors of the report predict that in 2022 the revenue of carriers will decrease by another 0.4% on a year-on-year basis.
The rates of transport services hit record high – the Ti-Upply-IRU European Road Freight Rate Index reached 108.3 in the fourth quarter of 2021. This is the highest level since its introduction in 2017.