Personnel shortage limiting factor for growth in port of Rotterdam

Rosanne van Houwelingen

The container capacity in the port of Rotterdam will almost double in the coming 10 years. To handle all this extra capacity, new workers are necessary. However, due to a decreasing labour force the port of Rotterdam may be unable to handle all the extra capacity, Rosanne van Houwelingen says in an interview with de Telegraaf (8 December 2023). 

Rosanne van Houwelingen is Researcher Port Economics at Erasmus Centre for Urban, Port and Transport Economics.

Van Houwelingen’s research shows that almost one third of all truck drivers are aged between 56 and 65 years. Thus, they’ll be leaving the labour force the coming ten years. The inflow of new logistical employees will not be able to compensate for this outflow. Strikingly, the inflow of students in a logistic related field is currently sizably lower than in 2018.  

Unappealing profession 

Van Houwelingen notes several reasons for why work in logistics is considered unappealing for younger generations. Firstly, these generations want a better work-life balance. Irregular working hours are then considered unattractive. Secondly, employees are more likely to quit if another company offers higher wages. Thirdly, the waiting times in transport are considered unattractive.  

Change business culture

Employers in the port of Rotterdam are thus grappling with these staff shortages. According to the researcher, the main aspect companies should change is their culture. Young employees want development opportunities, innovation, vision and flexibility at a company.  Especially the latter is considered important since the younger generation highly values work-life balance. 

Van Houwelingen closes her remark by explaining that companies need to shake off some of the conservative stigma still surrounding them, in order to attract employees also from new cultures. Yet, the researcher also stresses that companies in the port of Rotterdam should learn to accept that they will have to make do with fewer employees.  

Rosanne van Houwelingen, Researcher Port Economics
More information

For the whole item by the Telegraaf, 8 December 2023, click here.

For the report by Van Houwelingen on the effect of labour shortages on the accessibility of the port of Rotterdam, click here.

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