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Switzerland ‘not at risk of truck driver shortage’

The United Kingdom and the European Union are grappling with truck diver shortages that complicate economic recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic. Keystone / Joe Giddens

Unlike other Western European nations, Switzerland is not at risk of a supply chain crisis due to a lack of truck drivers, according to the president of a major logistics and transport company.

This content was published on October 17, 2021 - 15:00
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"The situation in Switzerland is significantly better than in the rest of Europe," Rolf Galliker, president of Galliker transport AG told the German-language weekly SonntagsBlick in an interview published on Sunday.

"We have done our homework. Switzerland certainly does not have to fear supply shortages," said the 56-year-old chairman of the company’s board of directors. He notes that many drivers will retire in Switzerland in the coming years and that it is a challenge to find good young talent, but that is the case across many trades.

The higher wages offered in Switzerland help drive recruitment but are not the reason why the Alpine nation is better off than other parts of Europe that are suffering supply chain chaos.

"The problems in Germany and other Western European countries have a different cause: for many years, transport companies there have hired almost exclusively low-cost drivers from Eastern Europe, leaving the ranks of local drivers to atrophy," Galliker said.

It is now clear that this was not a sustainable strategy. "The quality of life in many Eastern European countries has risen,” Galliker noted. "As a result, fewer and fewer drivers are willing to be away from home for weeks at a time to drive trucks across Europe.

Young Poles today would rather become computer scientists than truck drivers and this led to loss of human capital now being felt by Western European transport companies.

Going forward, Galliker believes each country should try to train enough drivers to guarantee national logistics, an endeavour that typically takes years.

The Swiss Galliker Group employs more than 3,000 people. It has 21 branches in Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Sweden and Slovakia.

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