Minister invites industry to discuss how to avoid transport chaos – it was about time!!
Minister of Infrastructure Thomas Eneroth recently announced what Sweden should do in order to avoid ending up where the UK currently is in terms of driver shortages.
He intends to start by inviting representatives of the haulage industry, trade unions and relevant authorities to a round table discussion.
Why didn't we see this coming sooner?
The background to the Minister's actions is the recent high-profile shortage of drivers in the UK, which has resulted in shortages of a number of goods in shops, not least fuel. According to The Times, there is a shortage of 400,000 drivers in Europe. I think it's even more.
It's been nearly five years since I predicted this and first wrote about the issue here on the blog.
The reason is the poor wages and the conditions of often being away from home for long periods of time. At the same time, wages have increased in countries such as Poland, which has led to many people moving back home and taking up employment there instead.
Those who have benefited most from the squeeze on transport prices are the consumers. How many of us have not stood in a shop with a product in our hands and wondered how on earth can it be this cheap? How much did the worker who made it earn and how much did it actually cost to transport it here?
But in the future, we can expect a general price increase.
One of the main reasons for the low transport prices is that the rest of the industry has been very good at pushing down prices for us transport companies. But with the rising costs of containers and fuel, there is a sudden understanding for the fact that transport and logistics prices have risen. And thanks to the high-profile crisis in the UK, higher prices are also being accepted in many places because drivers need higher wages.
The new mobility package created by politicians in Brussels also adds to the shortage, as it becomes both cumbersome and time-consuming to carry out cross-border transport, with different pay in the countries that you pass through. In addition, the car will have to be returned to its country of origin, which will almost certainly create a large number of unnecessary journeys with empty vehicles that are completely insane in terms of the environment.
But that's another story, to which I will return.