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Shortage of 20,000 lorry drivers to be dealt with by constructing rest areas and supporting education

Translated by Milo Dvorak

26. 2. 2024

Good morning,

Today's business newsletter is about a shortage of lorry (truck) drivers in the Czech Republic. The article actually contains a lot of very commonplace vocabulary used across the board, particularly in news.

And on top of that, this is also the first newsletter with an audio version available on my website.

Published by iRozhlas on 23 February 2024.


Listen to this article:

Lorry Drivers Shortage
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How to solve the ongoing shortage of lorry drivers? The International Road Transport Union has focused on tackling this issue. In collaboration with individual national organisations, it has put together a plan outlining various measures to make the profession more attractive, hoping to entice more candidates. According to the Association of Road Transport Operators ČESMAD Bohemia, there is a shortage of 25,000 professional drivers in the Czech market, with 20,000 of them being lorry drivers.

The shortage of drivers, according to Tomáš Bicera, the director of the Institute of Road Transport ČESMAD, is a long-term problem. "Former soldiers used to become drivers in the past. Even vocational schools cannot cover the shortage of drivers. More drivers are retiring than new ones entering the profession. The demand for drivers from logistics companies is increasing, further exacerbating the shortage," he explains for Radiožurnál.


"One could say that the economy is slowly recovering. Transportation companies would be able to carry more cargo, but there is no one to carry out those transports," he adds.


According to ČESMAD, problems may also arise in mass transit. "There is also a shortage of drivers there and if it continues to decrease, there is a risk that there won't be anyone to drive the buses. This has happened several times in the Czech Republic, most recently in July in Novojičínsko and Opavsko. The bus operators attributed it to high driver illness rates and going on holiday," Bicera describes.


According to him, the situation can be changed in several ways. Bicera emphasises, for example, support for vocational schools, from which graduates with lorry driving licences could emerge. Obtaining such licences can cost tens of thousands of crowns. "Relaxing the rules for employing workers from non-European Union countries, which has been discussed for a long time, would also help."


One of the main points of the plan is to improve conditions for drivers on the roads, such as during mandatory breaks or when waiting for cargo. "There should be social facilities - a room where they can rest, so they don't have to stand next to the lorry or be in the cabin. These are all things that have a significant impact on how a driver feels at work and how many potential drivers will be interested in the job," he explains.


"The Ministry of Transport is aware of the problems. It acknowledges, for example, that there are too few rest areas and they plan to build more," points out the ministry's spokesperson Jan Jakovljevič, who says that 1,900 spaces for trucks are in various stages of preparation.


"As part of the preparation for new or expanded rest areas, there are spaces for drivers to relax, such as seating or exercise elements," he adds. However, there is often a problem, according to him, that local communities do not want these rest areas in their neighbourhood.

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