The war in Ukraine threatens a supply bottleneck


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03/02/2022 – Category: Trade

ELVIS AG and the Mittelstandsverband BVMW see great challenges for the logistics industry. The war in Ukraine could severely endanger supply chains.

The European Cargo Association of International Freight Forwarders AG (ELVIS) and the Mittelstandsverband Mittelstand.BVMW assume that the logistics industry in Germany and Europe is facing major challenges. Representatives of the associations fear that the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine could exacerbate the driver shortage to an extent that the supply chains will not be able to withstand. There is a risk of a supply bottleneck that could severely affect industry, trade and the population. Freight forwarders and logistics providers are therefore urgently called upon to prepare themselves immediately and as best as possible for the expected capacity bottlenecks on the transport market.

Supply chains: Solution concepts for driver shortages are in demand

“It is well known that we have been struggling with a glaring driver shortage in Germany for years. Nevertheless, there are still no reliable solution concepts for this problem. On the contrary: the regulations of the mobility package, in particular the obligation to return the vehicles used to the location of the branch, have made the situation even worse. That could now be our undoing,” explains Nikolja Grabowski, CEO of ELVIS AG.

Because according to the toll collection, Eastern European transport fleets handle large parts of the truck traffic in Germany as a prerequisite for functioning supply chains. The share of Ukrainian drivers in this cannot be precisely quantified, as the Federal Office for Goods Transport (BAG) does not record their mileage separately. On the other hand, the share of Polish trucks in the mileage in Germany can be determined. In the BAG statistics, this is reported at 17.5 percent, which means a good half of all transports carried out in Germany by foreign companies. It is also known within the industry that many drivers employed in Poland come from the Ukraine.

The majority of these truck drivers are no longer able or willing to pursue their profession in the current situation. Either because the men were called up to defend their homeland as part of the mobilization ordered by the Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. Or they return to support and keep their families safe. Klaus Meyer, Chairman of the Logistics and Mobility Commission BVMW, warns: “We are talking about an estimated 100,000 Ukrainian drivers who are currently alone in Poland and who may soon no longer be available to the transport companies. That would be tantamount to bloodletting that could hardly be compensated for.”

Prepare for transport capacity shortages

ELVIS and BVMW therefore appeal to all German freight forwarders and transport service providers to intensify contact with their clients and subcontractors as quickly as possible and at the same time to prepare for the expected shortage of transport capacities. In addition, politicians are required to immediately discuss possible solutions to guarantee the supply chains together with the industry. For example, a temporary suspension of the mobility package is conceivable. “Without fundamentally questioning the regulations, the transport and logistics industry in Europe now needs every opportunity to act flexibly in order to be able to fulfill its supply mandate,” emphasizes Grabowski.