Germany truck transport bottleneck hits steel deliveries

Several German steel distribution companies, especially in the segment of rebar/bending and wire mesh, are complaining about a growing shortage of truck transport capacities. This may have repercussions on prices.

“It’s one of the main problematic issues we are facing these days,” a North Rhine-Westphalian cut-and-bender tells Kallanish. “Mills do not have enough trucks available. I am still waiting for 3,000 tonnes of wire mesh ordered in August.” He notes the shortage especially affects wire mesh deliveries. But transports of rebar are affected as well, “…especially for lengths above 12 metres,” a manager in southern Germany says.

According to the NRW manager, the shortage is one of the many problems that have sprung up due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many drivers in Germany come from other countries, mostly Eastern European, and have stayed in their home countries during the pandemic, he says.

A spokesman of a large distribution group agrees in this respect. His companies did not have to cancel deliveries, but have had to cope with delays and invest more effort to organise the capacities they need. This may lead to increasing transportation costs, although this has not effectively happened yet.

The spokesman highlights a prevailing long-term problem “…that a truck driver is not an attractive job”. He points at one discouragement few have considered so far: “Young people at school hear of autonomous driving which could make drivers redundant in another few years, so why go for a job that has not much future.”