Are we facing a crisis in the transport industry?

Transport, forwarding and logistics are currently of key importance in the context of the national economy. They account for nearly 6 percent of Polish GDP, and the number of people working in these industries is approaching one million. Recent years, from the point of view of the geopolitical situation, have not been very favorable for this sector. Although the times of the pandemic, despite the bad forecasts, turned out to be relatively harmless for the transport of goods, the situation became much more complicated just after the outbreak of the war beyond our eastern border. More than a year has passed since then, and preliminary estimates for the entire TSL industry are still not too optimistic, but not devastating either. Despite this, most representatives of companies from the transport sector believe that the last few months can be safely considered a crisis, which, apart from events in the world, was caused by several external factors. Changes resulting from the Mobility Package - did they cause problems? In mid-2020, the Mobility Package was adopted by the European Parliament, according to which it was to cover all EU members. Its original assumption was to give equal rights to all transport companies so that they could compete fairly throughout the Community. In addition, it was also about improving the working conditions and wages of truck drivers. The program has been divided into several stages, with new changes waiting for entrepreneurs from this sector almost every year. We wrote about the changes and regulations included in the Mobility Package in more detail at this link: https://enviogroup.com/pakiet-mobilnosci-czem-jest-i-jak-oddzialuje-na-nasza-branze/ However, not all entrepreneurs liked the assumptions introduced by the European Parliament. A large percentage of them believe that it was this program that strongly contributed to the crisis in the transport industry. The changes introduced regarding cabotage, more frequent arrivals of drivers to the base in the country, or the liquidation of per diem allowances in favor of an increased minimum wage - these are factors that significantly slow down the implementation of services, especially for companies with a smaller fleet of vehicles. The increase in fuel prices does not improve the situation Increased fuel prices at gas stations certainly do not improve the situation of the transport industry. Additional costs included in oil can be a significant burden for any company dealing with the transport of cargo. Indirectly, although to some extent it may also translate into the number of customers. The increase in fuel prices automatically increases the cost of the service, which some contractors may resign from after exceeding a certain barrier. The situation in the East is an additional obstacle For obvious reasons, the transport sector had to close itself to the Eastern market and focus all its attention exclusively on the West. Many entrepreneurs, due to the sanctions covering the Russian and Belarusian states, have directed their activities to the much safer EU market, which does not require taking any risk. In the years to come, there is a chance to establish close transport cooperation with Ukraine, but at the moment the unpredictability in this region also does not encourage representatives of the TSL industry to become more involved in the transport of cargo to this region. Shortage of drivers - a huge challenge for the TSL industry The number of professional drivers on the Polish transport market is appallingly small. More than half of the companies involved in the transport of cargo complain about the lack of staff, and the situation does not seem to be improving quickly. Until recently, a large percentage of drivers in Polish companies included Ukrainian citizens. These people, forced by the situation in their country, had to return as soon as possible to defend its borders. However, the problem with the number of drivers was noticeable even before the start of the war beyond the eastern border. The lack of people to work in this field is mainly due to low interest among the younger generation. Transport companies therefore do everything to keep permanent staff with them. We are talking about providing constant health care, increasing salaries and bonuses - this in turn entails additional costs for the company. Forecast for the future A very likely scenario for the transport sector in our country is a reduction in the number of micro-enterprises. As a result of the emergence of new regulations and "stealing" drivers tempted by higher rates by more developed companies, they may permanently disappear from the market. However, there is more and more talk about automation in transport. Many specialists believe that the introduction of autonomous vehicles will dominate the delivery market faster than the passenger one. Tests of such technology are already being carried out on foreign expressways and motorways. Perhaps this will turn out to be a solution to the problems that most representatives of the TSL industry are already facing.

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