Woman fights for more truck parking spaces

Reading time: approx. 3 minutes 
Text: Juliane Gringer 
Photos: Anna Kuzynin, Truckers Life Foundation, KRAVAG Truck Parking

Anna Kuzynin tackles grievances in the transport industry head-on – both professionally and voluntarily. Since the shortage of parking spaces makes work extremely difficult for truck drivers, she is now campaigning for more truck parking spaces as Key Account Manager at KRAVAG Truck Parking.

A shortage of truck parking spaces? Anna Kuzynin faced this problem in her Polish homeland every day for years – “From the village near Wrocław where I lived, it was just seven kilometres to a motorway junction with several motorway service areas. When I was driving to work, I always used to see the trucks parked haphazardly along either side of the access road. If you are the family’s sole breadwinner, you can’t afford to spend money staying overnight in a guesthouse or buying food at the service area. You’d rather park up at the roadside and cook your own dinner.” She was troubled by what she saw. “The job of a professional truck driver is so crucial, yet these people don’t even have a warm, clean place to take a quiet break,” says Kuzynin. “It has long been apparent to me that I needed to change something about this situation.”

Little tokens of appreciation and humanity

Her first step was a refusal to simply drive past the truckers. She regularly pulled over to take coffee to the drivers and chat with them. She also always has a snack and a note ready for the delivery drivers who who bring parcels to her home, which simply says “Thank you for your work!”. Little tokens of appreciation and humanity. The 49-year-old eventually decided to make a career of tackling the issue. In December 2022, she started working as Key Account Manager at KRAVAG Truck Parking, where she is committed to creating new parking spaces.

»The job of a professional driver is so crucial, yet these people don’t even have a warm, clean place to take a quiet break.«

Anna Kuzynin, Key Account Manager at KRAVAG Truck Parking

The KRAVAG insurance company’s initiative involves the provision of shared parking spaces for trucks – haulage companies can offer free parking on their premises, which drivers or dispatchers can book conveniently via an app. “You can’t conjure up the required 40,000 parking spaces in Germany overnight, but small steps are hugely important,” explains Kuzynin. Initially, she concentrated on making contacts. “In the first few weeks in my new job, I made hundreds of phone calls and chatted to lots of people.” Among them was Christina von Haugwitz from PROFI (Pro Fahrer-Image – association for professional drivers). “I think we’re going to achieve a lot together this year.”

Commitment to health and wellbeing

Professionally, Anna Kuzynin has long been involved in the transport industry, most recently heading up the sales team at the Trans.eu freight exchange. Trans.eu runs Truckers Life, a foundation that aims to make Polish and European roads safer by improving the health and wellbeing of truck drivers. “When a position became available there, I applied straight away,” says Kuzynin. She supervised the installation of fitness areas at service stations as part of the Truckers Gym initiative. This involves installing gym equipment so that drivers can be active during their breaks and get some exercise. The exercises not only strengthen the muscles, but also help drivers to relax, improve concentration and prevent fatigue.

»Every additional parking space we can organise counts”. I feel like I’m doing something good and can change the transport world a little.«

Anna Kuzynin, Key Account Manager at KRAVAG Truck Parking

Every additional parking space counts

She came across the issue of a shortage of parking spaces in just about every professional conversation she had. That’s why Anna Kuzynin is now seizing the opportunity to tackle the issue with KRAVAG Truck Parking. She even moved from Poland to Germany for the job. “I just found the task incredibly appealing,” she says smiling. “And I thought to myself, “I’ll be 50 soon, so it’s now or never. Every additional parking space we can organise counts. There are so many hauliers in Germany that can provide space. We just have to get them interested and inspire them to help out. At least as important as parking spaces are sanitary facilities in a well-maintained condition very important: more needs to be done here!”

Extremely dedicated professionals

When the need arises, Anna Kuzynin is always happy to lend a hand. When many restrooms on motorways were closed at the onset of the pandemic, she and colleagues collected donations, made up packages of masks, gloves and sanitizer and distributed them to truckers. “I’ll never forget how some of them had tears in their eyes because they were so touched by the fact that someone was helping them and they weren’t on their own.” In addition, she finds the professional drivers themselves extremely committed. “I don’t know of any other professional group that comes up with such amazing initiatives.” For example, a project run by the Truckers Life foundation called “Truckers for Others” supports colleagues in need, children with cancer and families that require help. Kuzynin also singles out the “Polish Father Christmases”, a group of truck drivers who renovate children’s homes. “I really want to draw attention to this level of commitment because there is often so much prejudice against drivers – they are accused of driving too fast, causing accidents or parking their vehicles inappropriately. It is important to me that more people see what they do for society in terms of their job, but also on a human level.”

»If we want to attract more women into the profession, a good infrastructure is vital, particularly in terms of personal hygiene. It must be completely safe for them to stop overnight on the road.«

Anna Kuzynin, Key Account Manager at KRAVAG Truck Parking

A few years ago, Anna Kuzynin shadowed female truck drivers at work for a YouTube report. “The job can be very physically demanding and you are away from home a lot, so there are very few women drivers – but those few are genuinely passionate about it,” she explains. “If we want to attract more women into the profession, a good infrastructure is vital, particularly in terms of personal hygiene. It must be completely safe for them to stop overnight on the road. And loading and handling on the ramps has to improve. Drivers should not still be unloading goods themselves with a forklift.”

Rethink required

For Anna Kuzynin, it is clear that the challenges in the industry cannot be solved in isolation, but only by working as a team. “We all need to sit down around the same table, no matter what country or region we’re from, what app we have developed or what support we can offer. That will spark an energy that can achieve a great deal.” It is important to talk about the things that work well. “We learn from role models – if someone says ‘I’ve tried this and can recommend it’, then others will copy it.” And she would like to see a change of mindset among the population. “You don’t have to order everything on the Internet, you can actually walk to a bookshop and buy a book. Or purchase groceries from a market. We need to become more aware that everything we consume has to be delivered. And that requires people.”
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