FACT CHECK: Poland needs 120 000 drivers, so surely they must have even biggest shortages than Britain!

There is that map circulating the internet, used by Brexiters to show that driver shortages are nothing unusual across Europe, and thus the situation in Britain is not specific to this country only and, surely, it has nothing to do with Brexit. You can find that map for example in this Daily Mail article, for easiness of reading I will pull that map from that article and post it here under the copyright exception allowing me to quote other work for criticizm:

So what’s wrong with the map? Well, its problem is that the context is missing. Poland is the bigger transporter in the EU. It has only 7,4 % of the population of the EU (data source from 2019), but it transports about 23% of goods within the EU (data source from 2020). That means many Polish truckers work abroad, serving the needs of the other countries, transporting either cabotage loads in other EU countries or transporting between two third countries.

Britain, on the other hand, is a pretty isolated market and it was even before Brexit. The vast majority of British hauliers serve the local market only.

So if Poland is short of drivers, it still has plenty of reserves, as thousands of its trucks come to Poland only once in several weeks, and can always be recalled to do some work in Poland. Also, the local needs can be served by trucks from other European countries, who are free to do cabotage loads within Poland, or, thanks to freedoms provided by European Union, there is nothing that would stop for example an Estonian truck transporting goods between Poland and Italy. In other words, despite that shortage, Poland still has more drivers than Poland needs, and even if they are not available, it can easily plug the gaps with drivers from other EU countries (or even non-EU, remember that Poland is a transit country, and on the Polish road you can spot plenty of trucks from Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and beyond.

Meanwhile, Britain has not have enough drivers for its own needs and, mostly thanks to Brexit, has very few options to fill the gaps in its market or get trucks from other countries to help with transporting British goods.

So while both Poland and Britain lack over 100 000 drivers, Britons see it in their supermarkets and Poles not.

I came with that analogy that, I think, explains it pretty well:

Britain wants to eat one apple, but it has zero apples.
Poland wants to eat one apple, and then give one apple each to its 4 friends, but it only has 3 apples in total.
As we can see: both countries have one apple less than they need. On paper, it looks the same.
But the outcome of this story is that Poland ate its apple and four of Poland’s friends ate half of the apple each – not much, but it will keep them going for the time being.
Meanwhile, Britain goes hungry.

Picture: Omega933 via Wikipedia (CC 3.0)



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