After a 2020 that took the economy by surprise, 2021 was a year of solutions, a year of “growing muscles” in many of the affected industries.
After the crisis of 2007-2008, at least a quarter of a century of stability and growth seemed to follow, as extrapolated from past economic waves.
No one expected a pandemic a decade later. So 2020 was a year of shock, of reactions such as “this is a movie script, not real life”.
Having accepted reality, we and our colleagues in the transport companies have started to build on the new reality, the new economic model.
2021 was a year of adapting to the new reality, a year of solutions. We at ROUTIER called it “a year of growing muscles” to be more resilient, stronger, but we also gained a business agility that helps us adapt much more easily.
Fuel prices, European legislative packages and delays in new truck deliveries (due to truck production disruptions) synchronised with the lack of demand due to the pandemic (which also created a transport shortage), amplifying the challenges.
In the spring of 2020, the pandemic halted investment in rolling stock for most transport companies. Then, as demand continued to remain at a fairly high level, orders increased again in late 2020 and early 2021. This delayed impact was combined with another factor, the three-year fleet replacement cycle. As a result, this surge in demand has saturated manufacturers’ production capacity.
However, always engaging in identifying optimization points, creative thinking and innovation provides solutions.
We have been able to invest in new trucks, thanks to successful partnerships with one of Europe’s leading manufacturers.
We have also sought to optimise transport processes to partly offset fuel prices, helped by our shift in recent years towards multi-modal alternatives.
Of course, another hot topic of the day became another challenge: the driver crisis.
It is estimated that there is a shortage of more than 400,000 drivers in Europe.
In 2021 we started to invest more in driver programmes, we started to listen more and identify the causes of driver shortages and high migration rates.
Thus, the 2022 programme is intended to increase the dynamism of a profession that suffers from a lack of attractiveness, and ageing of driver population (with an average age of 44 years in Europe) and the high level of qualification required to pursue this profession.
While some companies choose to take a step back, due to the fear of the economic picture in difficult times, we have chosen to think constructively with one goal in mind: the needs of our customers.
The transportation business is a daily workout that requires sweat and effort. But, the next day we are more used to challenges. That’s what “growing muscle in transport” means.