DHL smartrucking

Logistics operators have unveiled multiple initiatives in recent weeks, aiming to ease capacity constraints in the supply chain, particularly in Europe’s beleaguered haulage sector.

Yesterday saw DHL Freight and Geodis announce their latest offerings: the former launching a driver recruitment programme; while Geodis announced a booking platform.

DHL Freight’s recruitment drive will initially focus on European operations, and there is already a pilot scheme in branches in Erfurt, Koblenz, Maintal, Malsfeld and Sehlem.

Chief executive Uwe Brinks said: “Our industry’s currently being driven by an ever-increasing demand for transport, not least because of the continued strong growth in e-commerce.

“While we have sufficient loading capacity, we are noticing an increasingly urgent shortage of drivers. We have now adopted a far-sighted approach to addressing this with our driver recruitment initiative.”

The pilot programme employs new recruits in a “rotating deployment” capacity, where they will serve as drivers in peak periods and work in warehouses during quieter moments.

It comes as part of a twin-pronged initiative to add capacity to DHL’s haulage operations, with the company also ordering new trucks with a load capacity of 12 tonnes.

“At peak times, such as before Christmas, we record particularly high volumes of items,” said Mr Brinks. “The aim of the initiative is to expand our human resources and physical capacity to efficiently absorb these volume increases.”

The company said 30 new jobs had been created at each of the branches in the pilot programme and that if the initiative proved successful, a further 500 employees would be taken on across Europe.

However, with Freight Transport Association (FTA) figures indicating that the UK alone has a driver shortage of 45,000, more work is required by industry and government alike.

Geodis’s new initiative, Upply, hopes to tackle the issue of tight capacity in European haulage from a different angle.

Upply’s chief executive, Boris Pernet, said part of the capacity problem was linked to inefficiencies within the supply chain.

“We are seeing that anywhere between 10% and 20% of trucks are operating with empty space,” he said. “And yet we are being told the cause of the problem lies in the fact that the industry is leaking drivers.”

Upply is an online benchmarking tool for air, road and sea rates based on tradelanes. By providing real-time data across 100,000 lanes on rates and capacity, it allows both hauliers and shippers to better utilise the capacity on the market.

“Constraints are undeniably high, yet I believe the problem is being exacerbated by the way the market is reacting to this,” said Mr Pernet. “Upply can help address this by showing where this unused capacity is and allowing shippers to make bookings.”

Responding to a Loadstar post on the continent-wide driver shortage, one driver suggested hauliers seeking more drivers should address their pay scales.

“I am a driver looking for a job, why are the rates of pay so low? If anybody wants to pay sensible rates I am interested.”

Mr Pernet admitted that low pay may be partly to blame for the lack of driver availability, but, he added: “If drivers are not being paid enough, Upply can help, as bringing all the lanes under one platform will provide visibility.

“Costs will increase as and where necessary, creating more revenue for driver pay to be increased – the system helps generate business and regulate costs.”

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  • Charlie

    November 14, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Wages wages wages. Pay the money and you will get the driver’s. Antisocial hours away for days could be weeks plus a lot of responsibility .not enough places to park could go on and on.

  • Andrew

    November 14, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    If u want drivers .. Pay the for them to learn . it costs on average £2500 for the training . you want bums on seats pay for people to train end of

  • Roy

    November 14, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    Exactly what Charlie said, want drivers. Then pay people well enough to want to be drivers. As the network stands, it’s just not worth the hassle. Lack of facilities and low pay does not attract drivers. I gave up weeks away years ago, I’m now on a wee daf day driving for the same cash as I was earning class 1 starting early doors Monday till late Fridays… just not worth the hassle

  • Chris Pickard

    November 14, 2018 at 8:52 pm

    There is no driver shortage, technically, as there are over 50,000 people with hgv licences but no DCPC because they are fed up with being treated like dirt by everyone. I’ve watched this industry for slowly over the last 30 years and it is reaping what it has sown! 21st century logistics….. hmm, give me 80’s or 90’s haulage anyday.

  • Ben

    November 14, 2018 at 10:58 pm

    There is no shortage of drivers. there is however a shortage of chaps who want the inconvenience of a 70 hour work week for less money than it takes to get a mortgage on the worst flat in town.

  • Pav

    November 15, 2018 at 4:38 am

    I agree. Wages wages wages!!! I had an interview and been told that the salary is 30k….. if you do over 60 hours a week!! Which is about 10 pounds an hour ! That is a joke ! 5 days a week over 12 hours a day you have to be really careful on the road, as a security at night, easy to get a fine and lose your licence, car insurance is higher because you are hgv driver, overtime at normal rate REALLY!!!! Anywhere else doing 60 hours a week you will get the same money without risking going to jail in case of accident. Good luck !!!! I am going to lidl will be working at the till for 10 quid an hour and peace of min lol

  • Dean

    November 15, 2018 at 4:45 am

    Train driver 35 hours a week 70k
    Lorry driver 70 hours a week 35k
    Spot the difference!
    Both are really responsible jobs!

  • Joe

    November 15, 2018 at 8:05 am

    The problem is the wages. Whenever I search for new driver jobs the wages are rubbish. You want to increase the workload and hours for drivers but don’t want to pay properly. Where’s the incentive? Yes I’ll give up my social/family life for the pennies you pay,pull the other one DHL.

  • Martin Painter

    November 15, 2018 at 11:01 am

    Its not only the hourly rate thats poor, you have too look at the hours that a driver has to do per shift ! 12/13 hrs on average. The blame culture towards them by operator and customer and the never ending road congestion. You cant get to Doctor, Dentist, Hosp appointments ! Unless you have a day off. Forget parents evenings….And all the licences and training you have to have to keep said job. No wonder there’s a Driver shortage

  • Peter James Hardy

    November 15, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Ive had my class 2 licence for 2 years paid for put off my own pocket . Been with agency for the full 2 years, and for the full 2 years there’s never been no pay increase. At first I excepted the low pay with me not having much experience, but I feel like I’m being used. When can a full grown man expect to earn a wage he can actually live on. I start work on a Monday without money this can’t be right my motivation to succeed in my life is being ruin I’m working with no enjoyment for the job. I was In the building trade for 30 years and enjoyed every day. I earned more money in 2 days 20 years ago than I do in a week today this can’t be right for the industry or for the loyalty of the employee to give his all commitment to the employer

  • Peter Stoff

    November 15, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    DHL, Geodis, are you listening?
    This same question has been asked for many years with the same answers but NOBODY listens.
    Geodis Feltham refused me access to toilets when delivering to them.
    I will never forgive myself for enduring a nine hour induction at DHL Wisbech, (I have thirty years experience) after two shifts I decided they were not for me.
    Start treating people properly and they will be happy to work for you, it’s not all about wages.