This has been a year of change and in the shipping world, the driver shortage is having the biggest impact on freight shipping. The last decade has seen a shortage of truck drivers. Currently, the industry is short 50,000 drivers and if the forecasts are correct, the driver shortage will increase to 330,000 by 2024.
Fuel prices and supply shortages are adding an additional level of trouble to the industry. From long hours, high turnover, and increased fuel costs, trucking is seeing the strain. Here is a look at the impact, the factors, and possible solutions.
The driver shortage affects the entire economy since 70% of all freight is moved on U.S. highways. This shortage can have a significant impact on supplier costs, consumer pricing, and delivery delays.
One of the biggest factors in the driver shortage is the demographics of the truck driver workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the trucking industry is comprised up of men, 45 years and older. The average truck driver is currently 55 years old.
Another problem within the trucking work pool is that there is a high turnover rate, especially in the long-haul sector. The industry says the percentage of turnover is 90%.
On the Road (OTR) and Full Truckload (FTL), are the two biggest areas where the shortage is taking place. These shipping methods require a lot of time on the road. Drivers prefer LTL loads so that they can spend more time with their families.
The COVID-19 pandemic made matters harder as the demand increased for food deliveries, online shopping, distribution of PPE and vaccines. The pandemic also made it difficult to hire and train new drivers.
The industry is looking at changes that can be made to the career of a truck driver to potentially help decrease the shortage.
One area that is being discussed is increasing the driver’s wage along with a more comprehensive benefits package. The hope is to entice younger drivers and keep seasoned drivers on until retirement.
While autonomous trucking’s advanced technology could streamline the entire industry and bring incredible cost reductions, it will be years before it is ready to be on the road. Further, it might be more than a decade before enough autonomous trucks on the road to have an impact on freight volume.
Another push that the industry is making is to appeal to women, former military, and veterans. This push is to broaden the diversity and the pool of potential employees.
The logistics industry is changing constantly, and we know you have a business to run. Shipping freight can be confusing and with the shortage finding a solution can be time-consuming and inefficient without the right information.
With over 75 years of combined experience, we can help tailor shipping solutions that will avoid delays in transit times and get your freight to its final destination as fast as possible.