Udo Skoppeck: He voluntarily gets stuck in traffic

Udo Skoppeck has been driving trucks for 40 years and is concerned about his industry. More and more forwarding agencies have to close. Skoppeck wants to change this and organizes the protest.
[“Udo Skoppeck leans forward in his driver’s seat and pours hot water through a filter into a thermos flask which is stuck between his thighs. Then he fills a second jug and stows the coffee can under his seat. Two liters of stimulant. Like every day when he drives his truck, both cans will be empty in the evening.”] [“Skoppeck’s been on the road since four in the morning. He spent the night before in Hof in Bavaria, now it is eight o’clock and he and his truck with a load of steel pipes have just arrived at an industrial yard for building materials in Berlin-Köpenick. The first destination for today.”]

Without a beep from the parking aid, without a camera, almost without looking in the mirrors, he parked his 16.5-meter long and 40-ton truck backwards. Now the truck with its twelve wheels is positioned in such a way that a huge crane with its sling rope can pull the loaded steel pipes through the open roof of the trailer.

[“Skoppeck is 58 years old, wears glasses and a shield cap, he has a ponytail and first grey hair. He didn’t go to Berlin just to deliver steel pipes and later to load up garbage. Skoppeck is also here because he wants to demonstrate the next day. Because he and his more than 500,000 colleagues who drive food, concrete or liquefied gas in bottles through the Republic every day are worried. Not because of the Corona crisis, even if it has hit some transport companies hard, but because of falling wages and increasing cheap competition from Eastern Europe.”]

After two hours Skoppeck leaves the industrial area in Köpenick again, he waves the strong man with the radio and steers through a gate that opens automatically. He has been driving trucks for 40 years. Even as a child he was enthusiastic about the big trucks, he says. Once he had been driving his truck for days with his uncle, a long-distance lorry driver, and even then he felt that this was going to be his profession. Years later, the training. Today, he can no longer imagine anything else. In all these years he has covered more than five million kilometres.

But he has never been to Berlin-Köpenick before. So it is difficult to manoeuvre the truck through the old town. “If you don\’t know your way around, you have to improvise,” says Skoppeck, moving only one half of his face so that the unlit cigarette sticks between his lips. Unfortunately, the road leads to a bridge which, at 3.80 meters high, is too low for his truck. This is what Skoppeck\’s navigation system shows. But he is not allowed to enter the next street, the one after next is too narrow, the third one is blocked.

Skoppeck remains calm, stops in the middle of the right lane, gets out and runs away. Minutes later he climbs back into the car, the cigarette still in his mouth. He had just asked another driver, left, right and then past the football stadium, that might work. It will take him an hour and a half for the eleven kilometres to the next destination. “You could have walked or flown to Munich in that time,” he says and laughs.

Image source: https://bit.ly/3hPcKpH

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