There are currently 5,000 job openings for lorry drivers in Belgium, which needed to be filled urgently to keep the shop shelves filled, says Febetra, the federation of Belgian transport and logistics service providers.
Febetra pointed to the United Kingdom, where the consequences of a shortage of lorry drivers are evident, as the country is facing fuel shortages and empty shelves in supermarkets are seen because they cannot be supplied.
"If we want the shop shelves to remain filled in the future, then extra drivers are urgently needed," Isabelle De Maegt of Febetra said in a press release.
To fill in the thousands of vacancies in Belgium, Febetra is also organising the Day of the Truck Driver on 9 December, when drivers will receive a small gift such as a cup of coffee, a snack or a card at various locations.
"Without truck drivers, the world stops turning and we do not realise that enough," she added. "Without them, shelves in supermarkets and shops remain empty, all construction sites are at a standstill and factories stop running."
In the meantime, Carrefour shops across Belgium are still experiencing issues following a strike at the Logistics Nivelles distribution centre at the start of the week.
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While the employees decided to resume work on Thursday and transport company Supertransport also agreed to end the strike, it could take a few days before all Carrefour stores are fully resupplied.
In a reaction given to the Belga news agency, Flemish Economy and Employment Minister Hilde Crevits pointed that the number of people in training to become truck drivers is rising sharply.
"Nearly 1,000 people have received training this year, which is already more than in 2020 in total. If this trend continues, more people will be trained this year than at any time in the past five years," she said.
"To reinforce that, we are improving our cooperation with partners. For example, we have an agreement with the Ministry of Defence to use an exercise ground and thus expand the training places," Crevits added. "In the meantime, VDAB is looking for better partnerships with De Lijn and bpost, for example, to boost training there as well."
Anyone who is interested in applying for the job can find more information at www.vrachtwagenchauffeur.be.
The Brussels Times