If you love the open road, you enjoy travelling and visiting new destinations, you don’t mind spending time away from home, and you like to be independent, a career as a haulier may appeal to you. Have you stopped to think about what it takes to perform this job? In order to dedicate yourself to this role, there are a series of requirements that you need to understand. Let’s find out more:
Most importantly, you need to hold a HGV driving licence (C1, C, C1+E & C+E).
- C1 licence: can be obtained from age 18. Allows you to drive vehicles of less than 7,500 kg of maximum authorised mass (MAM), that do not exceed 9 seats.
- C licence: can be obtained from age 21. Allows you to drive vehicles with no MAM limit, that do not exceed 9 seats.
- C1+E licence: can be obtained from age 18. Allows you to drive vehicles of less than 7,500 kg MAM with a trailer. The maximum authorised mass of the vehicle and trailer cannot exceed 12,000 kg.
- C+E licence: can be obtained from age 21. Allows you to drive vehicles with no MAM limit with a trailer with a maximum authorised mass that exceeds 750 kg.
- Certificate of Professional Aptitude (CAP). In addition to the corresponding driving licence, to operate as a haulier in Spain, it is mandatory to hold the Certificate of Professional Aptitude (CAP), an accreditation that recognises its holders’ ability to perform functions as a haulier or transport operator. This training is obtained by passing tests that are held annually in the autonomous communities of Spain.
In addition to these formal requirements, you must consider the following aspects of life as a haulier:
- Spending time away from home alone. Be aware that, whilst this is a highly necessary job for society as a whole, it can be hard at times for the haulier. There are times when hauliers spend weeks on the road. Spending time away from home and away from family, and making the cab of the truck a ‘home away from home’ is, for the vast majority, the hardest part of this job – and hauliers must be prepared to deal with this.
- Hauliers are responsible for collecting and/or delivering cargo. As the responsible party for the cargo, the haulier must ensure that it arrives within the indicated period, in good condition. After delivering the cargo, the haulier will have to complete the documentation, which includes managing invoices and delivery notes. They must also comply with all safety regulations and maintain their vehicle in optimal conditions.
- Fundamental: respect rest hours, and ensure compliance with regulations related to load limits, type of load, and safe transport of the cargo. Some hauliers are specialised in the transport of dangerous good, or oversized cargo. As can be expected, these specialisations and the additional risk involved in the work entail attractive salary uplifts.
- The ability to think ahead to make best use of time and fuel. Hauliers must plan their route in advance taking into account its length, the weather, any possible obstacles (works, accidents…), an adequate amount of service stations and rest areas, etc.
In terms of data and statistics, the Spanish employment market reveals a shocking reality: the Spanish road transport sector has a deficit of over 15,000 hauliers, a shortage that has become particularly evident over the last twenty years.
Much of this reason for this relates to the sacrifices of the job: long hours behind the wheel, loneliness, being away from home… For this reason, employees in this sector demand higher salaries and improved working conditions, with special emphasis on the fact that work as a haulier is increasingly less attractive to young people.
When considered from another perspective, the positive aspect is that it has never been easier to find employment as a haulier.
In conclusion, dedicating yourself to a career as a haulier has advantages such as independence, discovering national and international destinations while at work, and the comfort offered by the cabs of the latest trucks; but it entails inherent inconveniences such as time alone and away from home, the responsibilities of the haulier regarding their vehicle and the cargo, and the unavoidable risk represented by life on the road.