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IRU RoadMasters Forum puts focus on human investment in supply chains
Global | Geneva

IRU RoadMasters Forum puts focus on human investment in supply chains

15 Dec 2021 · People

Managing safety and professionalism in times of driver shortages was high on the agenda at the third IRU RoadMasters Forum, held virtually this month. The event attracted more than 450 people from along the entire transport value chain, from shippers and logistics providers through to transport operators and international organisations.

Many leading companies speaking at the event said they are already investing heavily in the human element of transport supply chains. 
“Driving as a job can feel intimidating to young people. To attract youth we need to offer training and on-the-job support to young drivers when they take up the career so that they feel confident,” said Neringa Jasiulionienė from Manvesta.

Easing the movement of drivers, including hiring them from other countries, with more harmonised standards and requirements for the job would also help the sector tremendously. “We look forward to have foreign drivers benefit from easier access to the Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) as currently it is very difficult to hire them from aboard”, said Wladimir Krieger from Hegelmann.

Panellists agreed that decent pay, drivers’ development, career prospects and purpose are all key values in attracting, growing and retaining young talent today.

According to Andrea Condotta from Gruber Logistics, social sustainability will be very important to attract new talent into the industry and allow it to thrive in the future.

The panel also called for more joint actions on improving working conditions. Alejandra Cruz-Ross from the International Labour Organization (ILO) called for principles of decent work to apply to all drivers, whether they work as subcontractors or not. “The uncomfortable truth is that there might be robust road safety programmes and measures for direct employees, but nothing for subcontracted transport operations.”

Leading shippers are already taking a value chain approach to safety, efficiency and environmental sustainability. “Collaboration and digitalisation are key. For us, the safest kilometre is the one that we don’t drive, so we work together with our logistics providers to optimise and remove idle time from the system“, said Gabriel Dias Thomsen from Heineken.

The sector definitely needs to attract a younger workforce, against a backdrop of persistent skills shortages and difficulties for potential candidates to enter the driving profession.

Today the importance of investing in professional skills and competencies is no longer in question, but effective solutions to assist companies in managing their talents are still missing.

IRU supports road transport entrepreneurs to invest in people with attractive job creation and provides them with tools and services to help drivers and other professionals learn and grow continuously throughout their professional lives. Learn more about IRU RoadMasters.