Harbor truckers in Southern California will join Long Beach City College and marine terminal operators in establishing a train-to-work program in Los Angeles-Long Beach to address a severe shortage of drivers in the port area.
The Harbor Trucking Association, which represents approximately 125 licensed motor carriers, truck operators, warehousemen and other logistics providers, expects at least 100 new drivers will be trained and certified over the next two years.
The program is funded through a $440,000 grant from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and $450,000 in pledges from the trucking industry.
“We have been experiencing a shortage of qualified drivers, and this grant ensures that we will be able to sustain the future of our industry,” said Fred Johring, Harbor Trucking Association president.
Member companies have identified a shortage of 7,000 short-haul drivers in Southern California. The decline in drivers is due primarily to new regulations from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security mandating certain security and safety checks on drivers, the association stated.
Stringent security screening measures are now required for drivers accessing marine terminals. Also, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's CSA enforcement initiative is making it more difficult for truckers with poor driving records to stay in the industry.
“This grant funding will help our industry attract and retain the drivers that we rely on to move goods,” Johring said. The organizers are targeting an 80 percent employment rate for graduates of the program.