The Driver Shortage

Truck drivers are the basic unit of transportation capacity and the glue that holds supply chains together. No container or straight truck or trailer moves without, at some point, a truck driver. Even so, trucking companies, especially truckload carriers, often have great difficulty finding, hiring and keeping drivers. Nearly every period of economic growth is accompanied by a driver "shortage," including the recovery that began in 2009.

Is today’s shortage truly a demographic lack of available qualified drivers, or is it a market shortage created by comparatively low pay and unsatisfactory working conditions? How will federal regulations governing licensing, medical testing, safety enforcement and how long drivers may work affect demand and supply? Unless trucking companies, logistics providers and shippers work together to finally resolve trucking’s “driver problem,” transportation and logistics costs will rise substantially, and supply chains will be put at risk.

Read more:

10 Reasons for Driver Turnover and What Carriers Can Do About It

 

Special Coverage

Truckload carrier U.S. Xpress is offering a big pay hike to accident- and ticket-free solo truck drivers, a route other trucking companies may choose in 2016.

News & Analysis

26 Apr 2016
Driver turnover continues to pose problems for the trucking industry, particularly large truckload carriers.
03 Apr 2015
Trucking employment declined last month for the first time since May 2013 as U.S. job markets overall stumbled amid slower-than-expected economic growth. For-hire trucking companies shed 6,800 jobs in March. At the same time, the U.S. created only 126,000 jobs, far fewer than anticipated.
01 Apr 2015
The truck driver shortage in the U.S. apparently is becoming "more pervasive" despite higher pay and retention efforts by for-hire trucking companies, data released by the American Trucking Associations suggests.
20 Mar 2015
The British government will consider ways to reduce a shortage of truck drivers that shippers and carriers say threatens economic growth in the U.K., including finding funds for driver training.
13 Mar 2015
The number of job openings in the U.S. transportation and warehousing industries increased 23 percent year-over-year in January, but businesses in those industries lost more workers than they hired that month, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show.
12 Mar 2015
As the U.S. heads toward what some economists consider “full employment,” trucking companies tracked by the Labor Department hired an additional 2,600 workers in February, pushing the monthly JOC.com Trucking Employment Index reading up to 99.9.

Commentary

If you’re keeping up with the news on self-driving vehicles, you’d be forgiven for being confused whether their arrival is right around the corner or years away. Looking closely at the technology, we can see that both views are correct, and it will have wide-ranging implications for freight brokers.

Video

JOC Senior Editor Bill Cassidy reports on the Oct. 2015 Inland Distribution Conference, including insights from FedEx Chairman Fred Smith, key concerns facing shippers and and regulatory changes impacting truck drivers on the road.
YRC Worldwide’s new CEO James Welch details the progress of the turnaround efforts for the $5 billion trucking operator.YRC News: