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.
25 Apr 2014
Truck driver pay must rise between 15 and 25 percent if the trucking industry is going to keep up with freight demand in coming years, a truckload executive said yesterday.
JOC For-Hire Trucking Employment Index: Three-Year Comparison. Source: JOC.
04 Apr 2014
The JOC For-Hire Trucking Employment Index rose in March, as trucking hiring picked up after February's frigid weather chilled motor carrier plans to add jobs.
31 Mar 2014
Joe Lozano bid goodbye to port drayage work in February after seven years of hauling containers to and from New York-New Jersey marine terminals. He hasn’t regretted his decision.
31 Mar 2014
Teamsters union officials are hailing a National Labor Relations Board district office’s ruling as a breakthrough in their effort to prove port drayage drivers should be classified as company employees.
31 Mar 2014
Drayage is a fragmented industry composed of thousands of small carriers, with a limited number of larger players. That could change as barriers to entry for owner-operators rise and the number of qualified truck drivers drops.

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: