Have you noticed that when you pick up a call from a dispatcher, the speaker on the other line often has a distinctly Slavic accent? Why do so many trucking companies outsource their dispatch services to Eastern Europe? Being a Polish American working in the industry myself, I experienced first-hand the significant number of Eastern Europeans in this industry. In my six years of being a freight broker, I often relied on my ability to speak Polish as a tool for establishing relationships.
From the moment I got into the industry, I was curious to learn more about the growing trend of companies that have U.S. operations outsourced to Eastern Europe. Here, we’ll go over why so many trucking companies are outsourcing to the region, and we’ll tell you where the biggest centers are located.
Most of the Europeans immigrating to the U.S. today come from the Eastern part of the continent – around 44%. Many of these are Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, and others; many of whom have settled in the Chicagoland area.
Driving trucks is a popular career choice because the lack of English can be a barrier when it comes to getting into other fields. After working as truck drivers for a while, some start their own trucking companies. In addition, outsourcing dispatch positions to their home countries has a few benefits.
For one, they can provide economic opportunities to people in their homeland while saving themselves money. Hiring a dispatcher in the U.S. is quite expensive. Depending on the freight market, dispatchers can make around $2,000 per week in the U.S., whereas, in Eastern Europe, workers would be grateful for $250 to $500 per week. A few countries have become standouts as places to outsource dispatchers in recent years. So let’s look at these locations a bit more closely.
One of these hubs is Macedonia, where one of my good friends, Boris Panov, hails from. Boris works as a logistics manager for Superior Dispatch Services in Shtip. Boris spoke in an interview with FreightCaviar about the massive increase in offices servicing the American market across Macedonia and the rest of the Balkans region.
Three cities in Serbia have seen growth in the sector – specifically the capital of Belgrade, and two other towns, Niš and Krusevac. Many trucking companies in the U.S. have owners of Serbian origin; that is why there has been so much growth in Serbia.
Lithuania is another location quickly establishing itself as an outsourcing resource for trucking companies, mainly in the capital of Vilnius and the nearby city of Kaunas. I was fortunate enough to visit two trucking companies based in Chicago with offices in Lithuania back in 2019. From 2017-2020, I opened and ran an outsourced freight brokerage in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Of all the countries mentioned above, Ukraine (followed by Serbia) may have the largest population of outsourced dispatchers and brokers. There are a multitude of Ukrainian trucking companies and truck drivers in the U.S. that open dispatch offices in their hometowns. Their offices are widespread in the capital of Kyiv, along with Odessa and Lviv.
Though the geopolitical situation has slowed Ukrainian operations, other countries continue to grow throughout the region. Other, but perhaps smaller hubs are in Bulgaria and Bosnia.
So it’s clear that the fact that Eastern Europe has become the outsourcing center it is today is partly due to its ties to immigrants who’ve made a name for themselves as owners. These countries have been able to build on those initial relationships and grow by providing professional and cost-effective solutions to meet the demands of the U.S. market. Factors like inflation, the pandemic, and remote work will continue to drive the region’s importance to the industry.
What are your thoughts on the number of outsourced dispatchers in Eastern Europe?
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