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The trucking industry is facing a chronic shortage of drivers. How are companies dealing with it? IRU member CEVA Logistics has turned its focus inward to reduce their exposure to the risks associated with driver shortages.
Global | Geneva

Growing in-house talent: How CEVA Logistics is overcoming driver shortages

15 May 2024 · People

The trucking industry is facing a chronic shortage of drivers. How are companies dealing with it? IRU member CEVA Logistics has turned its focus inward to reduce their exposure to the risks associated with driver shortages.

IRU’s latest driver shortage report has found that over three million truck driver positions are currently unfilled in just 36 countries, an already grim figure which is projected to double by 2028 without significant action.

The report also features best practices and measures implemented by road transport associations and companies as well as governments to make the profession more accessible and to attract more talent.

We asked CEVA Logistics’ Maria Rangel (Driver Recruiting Manager, Ground and Rail) and Pierre-Alain Saclier (Global Ground and Rail Business Development Leader) to tell us how they have been managing the driver shortage crisis.

How is CEVA responding to driver shortages?

CEVA experienced severe driver shortages in North America from 2021 to 2022. 

Since then, we have worked on addressing the issue and developed the concept of an “asset-right company”. 

It consists of a mix of our own resources (drivers and trucks) and subcontractors (exclusive and non-exclusive) to respond to different geographies and market needs. 

We aim to reduce exposure to the risk of driver shortages, improve the quality of our facilities, and provide a better working experience for drivers. 

CEVA is also involved in the European Clean Transport Network, which will provide a different working model to help address the issue across Europe.

What is the European Clean Transport Network?

The European Clean Transport Network is a collaboration between three French organisations specialised in energy, logistics and motorway management (Engie, Sanef and CEVA Logistics) aiming to transform the long-haul logistics industry in Europe. 

The idea is to build and operate a network of terminals dedicated to heavy goods vehicles, with low-carbon energy supply solutions (such as low-carbon biogas, hydrogen and electric power) on European motorways. Our ambition is to expand the network across Europe over the coming years.

How will this benefit drivers and aid with driver recruitment?

The European Clean Transport Network will leverage IT solutions to optimise journeys and increase trailer swapping while the tractor unit recharges. This means that drivers can work shorter routes closer to their home bases, allowing them to return home every night. Our network will also offer improved facilities for drivers at the recharging terminals.

When will it become operational?

Currently, the project is in the proof-of-concept phase. We have already set up five initial terminals. A pilot started in 2023 on a route between the north and the south-east of France. 

For two years, a fleet of 20 low-carbon tractors will transport 20 trailers on this route every day, relaying and changing trailers at the five test terminals. We will collect relevant data with the ambition to extend across Europe, using existing motorway routes and partnering with additional organisations as the concept develops.

What is the Dock to Driver Program?

The “Dock to Driver Program” was set up to address driver shortages during the time of increased pressure on driver recruitment in North America in 2021-2022.

It aims to attract a younger generation of drivers and women drivers by enabling candidates to move from warehouse roles to driver positions and vice-versa. We support suitable applicants with their driving school costs and provide on-the-job training with qualified instructors to get them behind the wheel within weeks.

The objective is to create a pipeline of talent within CEVA, which is a win-win solution. It provides development opportunities for our staff and a pool of available drivers to our customers.

What are the direct benefits?

Ultimately, the programme reduces costs. A truck that is not in operation costs us about USD 3,000 per day. With our pool of available drivers, this situation should no longer happen in the long term. However, initial investment is necessary to train drivers. The ultimate goal is to create our own pipeline of talent within CEVA. 

The programme also supports drivers. We pay their existing wage while they are in the programme and offer personalised solutions if their attendance drops.

The “Dock to Driver Program” is completely flexible and can be adapted anywhere. We have also partnered with a driving school which is already active across our US locations.

Does CEVA have any other driving programmes?

CEVA has a wide range of programmes. In another one of our programmes, our recruitment and safety teams are providing opportunities to drivers who have just obtained their driving licence. 

We piloted the project in 2020-2021 with 40 graduates. The concept is to bring in new drivers directly after driving school and provide training for at least six weeks, giving them the experience they need to take on driving roles. 

Since the pilot, our North American team have refined the programme and are extending it to different areas.

We have several other programmes, too.

For example, drivers working for CEVA in Benelux can work in either the Netherlands or the Belgium area to return home every evening. They can also drive other routes and stay overnight with night compensation.

Ceva warehouse in Benelux
CEVA warehouse in Benelux

What changes has CEVA made to its hiring practices to support drivers?

In North America, we have simplified the recruitment process, cutting the onboarding period from over two weeks to just one. With the help of our global marketing team, we have also created a driver website which functions as a one-stop shop for information.

In addition, we made the entire process more interactive. All applicants can speak to an existing CEVA driver to gain insights into the role. Once hired, each new driver receives an orientation programme and a “driver buddy” to support them with their queries. Management ensures that they personally meet and welcome new drivers, adapting their schedules as necessary. Recruiters regularly check in with them to facilitate integration.

Lastly, we are committed to fostering diversity. We partner with organisations like “Women in Trucking” and “Hiring Our Heroes” for recruitment leads. Through these partnerships, we recruited 24 women and 19 veterans in 2023.

What other best practices would you like to share?

In the current context, the main point of focus should be the retention of existing talent. This is just as important as attracting new drivers. 

To retain drivers, it is necessary to give them a voice by using internal communications and building a community within our business. CEVA runs a driver platform (Work Hound) where drivers can answer surveys and provide feedback on any topic, publicly or anonymously. 

As an example, this open communication channel allowed management to know that there was a hole in a trailer which allowed us to quickly locate and fix the problem. We cannot control everything, especially in third-party locations, but we can address the issues raised by contacting relevant people and informing drivers. This has increased the perception of management’s accountability and retention rates have improved significantly: voluntary turnover (i.e. resignations) reduced by 14% in 2023. 

CEVA also rewards its drivers. During the Driver Appreciation Week, we gave several awards rewarding driving excellence, safety excellence and best customer satisfaction rates. The top three drivers of the year also received special recognition from the senior management team.

Other measures that we have implemented include closely monitoring loading/unloading schedules and document releases to reduce waiting times for drivers. We also provide comfortable resting and washing facilities at depots and extra comfortable truck cabin comforts with quality equipment.

What advice would you give to other companies?

Based on our experience, we would say that it is important to take an all-round approach when it comes to attracting more drivers. Changes may be necessary at different levels, like hiring, onboarding and retention. Collaborating with relevant organisations can encourage the exchange of ideas and help promote the company in new environments.

Drivers need to feel that they matter throughout their career. Reward programmes and open communication are greatly appreciated. Regular check-in sessions also show that CEVA is invested in their careers.


More solutions implemented by road transport associations and companies – such as ASTIC, Scania and Truckfly by Michelin – as well as governments to improve the accessibility and attractiveness of the profession are available in IRU’s global and European truck driver shortage reports.

The reports, which are based on a survey of more than 4,700 trucking companies in the Americas, Asia and Europe (1,000 in Europe alone), include sections on:

  • The impact of economic trends
  • Driver shortages
    • Current level of shortage
    • Demographic trends
    • 2028 forecast
  • The profession’s accessibility and attractiveness
    • Barriers closing off the profession
    • Solutions and best practices implemented by companies and governments