More than 25% of the vehicle carriers that were in 2019 to transport cars in Spain have disappeared, which has contributed to thousands of cars being piled up this Christmas in ports and factories without being able to reach the dealerships to be sold.
If in the first months of 2019 there were between 3,400 and 3,500 trucks in Spain for the transport of vehicles, currently there are only about 2,700, as explained to EFE by the president of the Transportave association, José Manuel Peña.
The reasons for the disappearance of this type of trucks are diverse, although the economic ones prevail, since they are very expensive vehicles, whose maintenance also costs a lot, and whose owners are paid rates that Peña describes as “derisory”.
A bodywork truck, that is, with tractor head and bodywork, to transport vehicles, can cost about 240,000 or 250,000 euros, which in some cases is up to double that of other types of trucks, according to Peña, who points out that the cost of their maintenance is also double, as well as that of the insurance of the goods they transport.
The concern about the shortage of vehicles to transport cars has occurred from the recovery of the pace of automobile manufacturing, after the crisis generated by the lack of semiconductors and components subsided.
“The peaks of work have risen a lot,” explains Peña, who points out that now that vehicle production is recovering, the problem that arises is the difficulty in getting the finished cars that are already designated to the dealers.
DEALER SALES SUFFER
In the latter part of the year, bottlenecks in transporting vehicles from factories or from ports where they arrive at points of sale have led to declines in the number of new vehicles registered.
Thus, in December only 73,927 registrations of cars and SUVs were registered, which represents a fall in sales of 14.1% compared to the same month of the previous year.
This has helped to close a bad year for the sector. Throughout 2022, 813,396 vehicles were registered, below the 830,000 predicted by the sector’s employers in their latest forecasts and far from the million registrations that were achieved before the pandemic.
Logistical problems have also meant that waiting times to receive a new vehicle, although they have been reduced, have not improved everything that was expected after the crisis due to the lack of semiconductors.
THOUSANDS OF VEHICLES ACCUMULATED IN PORTS
Large quantities of vehicles have accumulated in several Spanish ports due to this reason and, for example, in Santander (BME:SAINT), by 20 December, some 15,000 cars were being stored, some even parked in ditches, because logistics companies could not afford to transfer them due to the lack of trucks.
Similar scenes have been experienced in other Spanish ports, where the vast majority of vehicles sold in Spain are received nearby. Only 20% of the cars bought in this country have been manufactured here.
Both manufacturers and dealers and distributors confirmed this week in a joint statement that in the final stretch of 2022 “the difficulties in transporting vehicles to dealerships have caused thousands of cars to remain stopped in ports and fields delaying their delivery to buyers. “
AN UNATTRACTIVE SECTOR TO WORK IN
The shortage of vehicles available to transport cars ready for sale is also compounded by the lack of drivers willing to do so, either because workers prefer other professions with better working conditions or because they do not have the necessary training.
Being a driver of this type of vehicle carrier trucks requires preparation, because you have to be a specialist in the handling of vehicles for loading and unloading on trucks. In addition, Peña warns, you have to assume costs, if you make a mistake.
In addition, according to Peña, the low differential obtained with the activity of transporting vehicles has made it no longer interesting for the self-employed and microenterprises, who prefer to transport other types of goods.
The president of Transportave says they had been warning logistics operators and car manufacturers for some time that there would be problems distributing the vehicles produced to dealers.
The short-term solution to increase this type of transport is not simple, according to Peña, who adds that his association is working on creating a specific school for this type of drivers, so that more professionals are available.
However, he points out that the sector must also be made attractive to encourage investment by freelancers and entrepreneurs and give “security over time”.
In fact, although now, after the semiconductor crisis, there is more work, but a decrease in vehicle production, such as the one that happened not so long ago, can trigger the disappearance of companies again due to lack of work.