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

17 Dec 2014
Truckload operator The Dart Network is raising pay for its company drivers and owner-operators, joining a growing legion of carriers boosting pay to attract truck drivers.
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.
26 Sep 2014
American Trucking Associations Chairman Philip L. Byrd Sr. said the ATA is "bound and determined" to roll back changes to federal rules on drivers' hours of service, and to win revisions in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Complaince Safety, Accountability program .
14 Sep 2014
Despite reports of tight truckload capacity, the number of 'active' trucking firms is rising steadily, QualifiedCarriers.com reports.
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.

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: