According to data from the International Road Transport Union (IRU), Europe is missing approximately 300,000 drivers. Moreover, as time passes, this deficit will probably grow. Its reduction is certainly not helped by deficiencies in the parking infrastructure.
Being a driver is not an easy career path. We have already written about this on our blog. It is a stable, satisfying job that provides good earnings, but also very responsible and demanding. It is therefore not surprising that many young people choose other career paths, and the average age of a professional driver in Poland has already reached 50 years.
Importantly, the average in the European Union is even higher, and every third driver in the community is over 55 years old. This means that every third driver will end his professional activity within 10-15 years! An industry that is already short of approximately 300,000 drivers is certainly not ready for this.
Much has been said about the causes of the driver shortage. The decline of vocational education, which allowed students to obtain the necessary licenses to drive a truck at school, has certainly taken its toll. Today, however, we would like to draw your attention to another aspect of this issue.
LACKS IN PARKING INFRASTRUCTURE
Some time ago, we wrote on our blog about the problems drivers face in logistics bases. To put it briefly, there is often a lack of adequate infrastructure to take a shower and sometimes even use the toilet. Public parking facilities on our continent are definitely insufficient.
Of course, it is not that the problem goes unnoticed. The European Union has committed to building 100,000 safe parking spaces by 2030. For now, however, it’s going like December. As part of the last call for applications for the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), only 4 projects for the construction of parking lots for a total of 774 cars received funding: Hesbymazout in Belgium (129 places), Murcia in Spain (415 places), Jabbeke North in Belgium (140 places) and Arja Vas in Slovenia (90 places).
To develop road transport, it is not enough to build expressways and highways. Parking infrastructure is also important.
PARKING LOTS IS A SAFETY ISSUE
Importantly, parking lots cannot be looked at only through the prism of improving the quality of drivers’ work and rest. Safety considerations also need to be taken into account. Appropriate parking lots for trucks ensure the safety of the loads transported and the drivers driving them.
And there is a shortage of such parking lots, especially in Germany and the Benelux countries. If we add to this the problems with illegal immigrants often trying to get into trailers, we get a picture of the work of a professional driver as a dangerous profession. An image that is hard to fight, even if statistics clearly confirm that this is not the case.
Therefore, if we want the transport industry in Europe to continue to develop, we must definitely accelerate our actions and actually build 100,000 by 2030 safe parking spaces.