The Driver Shortage

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

Truck drivers by the numbers, 2013
Five years into the U.S. economic recovery, trucking companies say finding and hiring drivers is harder than ever. This driver shortage is a roadblock to expansion, limiting incremental growth in truck capacity, and a prime reason truck rates are set to increase at a faster pace in 2014.

News & Analysis

26 Feb 2015
The Ontario Trucking Association is asking truck drivers to rate shippers and consignees by how they treat them, placing them either on an 'honor roll' or in 'detention hall.'
truck driver
17 Feb 2015
U.S. regulators plan to study how truck driver pay methods affect truck and road safety, a step some trucking officials fear could lead to a government role in deciding how and how much drivers should be paid.
Port of Melbourne, Australia
13 Feb 2015
An independent Australian government tribunal will consider whether to set new work rules or pay standards for the nation's drayage drivers, as well as other truckers, in 2015.
10 Feb 2015
Trucking hiring soared in 2014, climbing nearly 90 percent from 2013 as for-hire carriers aggressively recruited employees and raised driver pay. Those efforts still wasn't enough to end a driver shortage.
02 Feb 2015
The annualized driver turnover rate at large truckload carriers rose to 97 percent in the third quarter, despite the efforts of some carriers to keep drivers by raising pay.
30 Jan 2015
The largest U.S. truckload carrier could add 700 to 1,100 trucks this year, if higher rates, higher freight demand and higher pay keep drivers in truck cabs.

Commentary

With intermodal loadings in record territory and the railroads pushed to the limit to move the volume, it might seem a bit strange to be sounding an alarm about a slowdown. But the intermodal industry is entering a period of vulnerability after a prolonged period of growth. While trouble isn’t inevitable, intermodal’s near-term destiny has passed to forces outside of intermodal’s control.

Video

YRC Worldwide’s new CEO James Welch details the progress of the turnaround efforts for the $5 billion trucking operator. YRC News: