Shippers call on air cargo to take action over truck driver shortage

13 / 08 / 2018

Shippers have called on the air cargo industry to take action to mitigate the truck driver shortage or face increasingly unreliable supply chains.

Writing in a column for Tiaca’s weekly e-newsletter, European Shippers’ Council (ESC) chairman and Tiaca board member Denis Choumert said that the air cargo industry would not be able to escape the consequences of the driver shortage.

Choumert said: “If we do not take action now, the efficiency in air cargo industry will decrease, and that is the last thing all of us wish to happen.”

He added: “Delays in consignments delivery, missing planes, airlines losing time slots at the airport are only a few constraints that a lack of drivers may bring to the air freight sector."

“Each day of delay causes considerable damage to shippers. Perishables, medicines, and flowers – products that shippers transport by air – have a short life cycle. Here, time and reliability are very important assets.”

Choumert called on the whole supply chain to work together to solve the issue: “Tiaca should take a role here to initiate first steps and to innovate. If we do not take action now, the efficiency in air cargo industry will decrease, and that is the last thing all of us wish to happen.”

To help solve the issue, Choumert said the industry needed to become more efficient, which it could do through digitisation and automation, while more needed to be done to make the sector a more attractive place to work.

On digitalisation, he said this could increase shipment visibility across the whole supply chain, making it easier for various links to prepare for the arrival of cargo.

Digitalisation could also help to ensure trucks did not travel with half loads, while slot booking systems at airports could help reduce the amount of time trucks have to spend waiting.

On automation, Choumert said technology could be used to make warehouses more efficient and truck platooning, where a lead truck controls a convoy of following automated vehicles, would result in fewer drivers being needed.

He also called for campaigns to improve the image of logistics.

“They would have to come not just from one group of stakeholders in isolation from the others but from shippers, ground handlers, logistics services providers etc. together,” he said.

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