Speaking to a record-breaking 300 delegates at the ECG annual conference on 25/26th October in Mainz, ECG President Wolfgang Göbel once again stressed the urgent necessity for safe, secure parking for drivers. The sector is faced with a skilled labour shortage in general, and in particular a severe driver shortage. The latter can only be rectified by improving driver conditions to encourage more young people to join the profession. Whilst the Association is multimodal 70% of ECG members provide road transport services and the wellbeing of their drivers is paramount.
The Association is also currently identifying how it can support its members in making employment in the Finished Vehicle Logistics (FVL) sector more attractive in general to young workers.
President Wolfgang Göbel announced that the Association is prioritising the issue of safe parking through the work of its Digitalisation Working Group which is in the process of creating a smart phone application (app) specifically for ECG drivers. This app will allow drivers to share practical information and recommendations with each other on a variety of issues including safe parking and sanitary facilities. It will offer a sense of community amongst drivers and facilitate peer to peer support.
The Association is also investigating the possibility to create an ECG network of member compounds, close to main traffic routes, which would be open to all ECG Member drivers and would provide secure parking as well as food and sanitary facilities.
ECG has been outspoken on this important issue for some time. Indeed the need for secure parking was also the theme, earlier this year, of its Annual Dinner Debate in the European Parliament on 20th March, which was hosted by MEP Wim van de Camp (EPP, NL). On this occasion four drivers addressed a 140-strong audience of EU Lawmakers, Logistics Service Providers, Car manufacturers and other stakeholders to share their experiences and perspective of daily life on EU roads.
Europe's transport sector provides 10 million jobs in Europe and accounts for five per cent of GDP. More than 100,000 Europeans are employed directly by the vehicle logistics industry and an additional 253,000 are indirectly employed in the sector. Germany is the largest transport country in the EU and 43 per cent of trucks on German roads at any given time are from other European countries. Germany alone lacks approximately 14,000 truck parking spaces. Current EU legislation on drivers’ rest times is meaningless without sufficient, secure parking to allow drivers to leave or rest in their trucks in safety.