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

Weekly wrap-up for Aug. 30, 2014
30 Aug 2014
Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union ratified a new collective bargaining agreement with grain handlers in the Pacific Northwest, ending a two-year battle between the two parties.
Intermodal train
27 Sep 2013
U.S. intermodal pricing is expected to rise next year, largely because the competing trucking industry will have to increase its own rates as capacity tightens and overall freight demand slowly but steadily builds.
Truck on a highway
25 Sep 2013
Economic growth remains sluggish, but those sectors that are doing well — housing, automobile sales, manufacturing and energy — are big generators of freight for motor carriers, according to Bob Costello, chief economist and vice president of the American Trucking Associations.
Schneider truck
24 Sep 2013
Schneider National CEO Chris Lofgren says shippers, trucking companies "must come to grips" with truck driver pay, address growing pay gap with average U.S. wages.
Empty cargo hold on an airplane.
06 Sep 2013
A faster-paced economy wasn't evident in the August employment numbers for freight transportation industries.

Commentary

There is not enough investment in trucks to maintain a steady growth rate in step with rising demand, despite strong Class 8 truck sales this year.

Video

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