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

13 Oct 2014
The nation's second-largest truckload carrier is the latest trucking company to boost driver pay significantly, as driver supply tightens in trucking's peak season.
06 Oct 2014
Truck drivers — the lack of them and the number of hours they can work — remain the top concern of trucking executives, the American Transportation Research Institute says.
U.S. trucks on a highway.
03 Oct 2014
Trucking employment bounced back after the dog days of August, climbing 2.3 percent year-over-year in September as the U.S. labor market showed surprising strength.
Ships at port
02 Oct 2014
Low ocean carrier rates are to blame for much of the congestion afflicting U.S. container ports, several ocean carriers and terminal operators said at a Federal MaritimeCommission hearing this week.
Knight Transportation tractor-trailer
01 Oct 2014
Strategic acquisitions in the U.S. trucking field continue as truckload carrier Knight Transportation grabs Barr-Nunn for $112.4 million.
Swift Transportation truck
29 Sep 2014
A big hike in truck driver pay seems to be paying off handsomely for Swift Transportation. The number of Swift trucks lacking drivers has dropped about 20 percent from the end of the second quarter, and line-haul truck utilization has improved more than 3 percent.

Commentary

Ocean carriers’ relentless drive to reduce costs is starting to show results, but everyone else is paying a heavy price.

Video

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