Lithuania leading heavy vehicle transport and logistics provider in Europe has chipped in to assist Sri Lanka to overcome dollar crisis by opening employment avenues in the transportation sector for Sri Lankans.
A leading transport service in Lithuania plans to recruit 600 truck drivers for its trans-Europe services and sought Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena’s intervention for speedy training process for selected drivers, Prime Minister’s Media Division said.
This request was made by Dana Janerikaite, Senior Director of Manvesta in Lithuania who called on Prime Minister Gunawardena at the Temple Trees on February 13.
She said the company plans to recruit 600 truck drivers but could select only 109 persons with good driving skills and basic English knowledge.
“We pay a monthly salary of SL Rs one million to work in our trans-Europe truck services. We have contracts for transport of luxurious vehicles including Mercedes Benz, Tesla etc. and food and other goods to over 500 clients. We need good drivers and I prefer to recruit from Sri Lanka because it is easy to teach basic skills to literate persons,” she said.
The Prime Minister said the company could use the driving training facilities available at CTB Driving School and other training centers to speed up the process.
He said he would take up the issue with the Minister of Labor Minister and Foreign Employment to establish a data bank on applicants for driver employment.
Local recruitment agency, Fortuna’s Managing Director Vimal Perera said the Manvesta’s training manager used the trucks available at Port of Colombo to test the driver skills and recruited more than 100 out of 300 applicants. “We urge the government to provide left hand drive trucks for these tests,” he said.
Transport and logistics in Lithuania account for about 12.3 % of GDP (which is the largest share of GDP for this sector among the EU Member States), employing more than 127 thousand workers (ca. 12% of all the country’s workforce).
5500 companies are operating in this sector in Lithuania, of which 4862 companies are very small (having up to 9 employees but altogether employing 21% of the workforce), 523 companies having 10-49 employees (comprising 23% of the workforce), 94 medium companies with 50-249 employees (21% of the workforce) and 22 large enterprises with more than 250 employees (35% of the workforce).
Road transport generates around 60 percent of the export revenue of the overall transportation and logistics sector in Lithuania.
The comparative advantage of the country’s trucking industry has long relied on the low cost of its workforce and the flexible work arrangements .
As compared to other countries, the road transportation sector in Lithuania is especially sensitive to the cost due to the geographical distance of the country from the leading centers in Europe where transportation and logistics activities take place.