Too much paperwork and too few truck drivers - two central challenges for the logistics industry are related and are among the major topics at the international transport and logistics trade fair, which Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) will open in Munich on Tuesday.
The world's largest trade fair for logistics companies takes place every two years. If the driver shortage continues to grow, "everyone will feel it in the end," said the CEO of the Dachser logistics group, Burkhard Eling, of the German Press Agency: Transport would become more expensive and there would be supply gaps from industry to supermarket shelves.
Germany lacks truck drivers
The past few years have shown how important logistics and functioning supply chains are. In Germany there is already a shortage of 70,000 truck drivers, and the trend is rising, said Eling and warned his industry: "The working environment must become more attractive." This included higher wages, good training and more support through digitization. "Logistics has some catching up to do. Too much is still happening on paper today," said Eling. With digitization, routes and loading and unloading could be better planned and the driver's workload relieved. Fewer empty runs save money and are also a contribution to climate protection.
At a Bundestag hearing, the President of the Federal Office for Logistics and Mobility, Christian Hoffmann, criticized the fact that drivers had to do auxiliary work at the loading ramp due to the lack of agreements between the freight forwarder and the customer. The spokesman for the board of directors of the Federal Association of Road Haulage, Logistics and Disposal (BGL), Dirk Engelhardt, had warned of a supply collapse due to a lack of drivers and criticized social dumping and driver nomadism. The Verdi union called for better tour planning and humane conditions on roads and service areas.
Truck transport critical for industry and population
Dachser boss Eling told the dpa that he only expects autonomously driving trucks in long-distance transport to any significant extent in five to ten years. In local and urban distribution transport, the use of driverless trucks is even more difficult: he will hardly be able to learn how to ring the doorbell and hand in the online parcel.
According to a study presented by Transport Minister Wissing, goods transport by truck is the backbone for supplying industry and the population and is likely to increase significantly in the coming years: goods transport by rail will grow by a third by 2051, and goods transport by road even more by half.
At the fair, which lasts until Friday, the successor to the diesel truck will also be discussed. Eling said that in local and distribution transport, the battery-electric drive should win the race, while in long-distance transport the electric motor with hydrogen and fuel cells. But that will take another 15 to 20 years. When it comes to the supply of hydrogen and the development of a nationwide hydrogen filling station network, politics is also in demand.