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Driver Shortage Hurting Europe Too

April 19, 2000

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U.S. trucking companies aren't the only ones facing a severe shortage of qualified, trained truck drivers. A European trucking association says it's bad on the other side of the Atlantic, as well.

The International Road Transport Union says driver shortages have been documented in Germany, France, Britain and the Benelux countries, but they can be found elsewhere on the continent, as well, according to a report in the Journal of Commerce.
The problem is worse in specialized areas such as refrigerated goods and hazardous materials.
Low-wage drivers from Eastern and Central Europe distort the market and introduce poorly trained operators to the industry, according to the union.
The problem in Britain is made worse by the country's high vehicle excise and fuel taxes. Trucking companies from outside Britain are able to compete unfairly, siphoning off part of the market for hauling British goods to Europe, according to the UK Freight Transport Assn.

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As in the United States, despite the shortage, there is continuing downward pressure on rates and therefore on driver pay scales. In addition, the industry's "unattractive image" makes recruiting difficult, according to a recent Freight Transport Assn. study.

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