The radical transformation of the world transport situation continues to have a multi-faceted ripple effect on the economy. With 70% of goods in the United States delivered by truck, we rely heavily on truckers for our supply chains in the country. Not only are these drivers used for domestic cargo, but they are also essential in moving imported cargo into the country once it arrives at ports. Drivers play a major role, but we are now facing a shortage of 80,000 drivers and this number is growing.
What is the reason? For one, the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) requirements are difficult to recruit. To drive federally across state lines, you must be 21, but most 18-year-olds go into other occupations and don’t transition into trucking at age 21. The average driver age is also getting older with a limited young driver. replenishment. Another key issue? The lifestyle is difficult as the drivers are lonely, sedentary, far from home and poorly housed. Compensation has also historically lagged behind other professions.
The trucking industry is the lifeblood of the global economy and with the shortage of truckers at an all time high, we cannot afford the likely outcome of this doubling by 2030. So how do we solve this problem ?
Focus on efficiency
To truly overcome the driver shortage and come back stronger, the industry must tackle critical issues head-on and enact major changes to retain drivers for the long term. One of the biggest problems is that consumer goods are not readily available when needed. While that wasn’t a problem on its own, the added problem of senders not having access to or control of the technology and tools they need to fix it just makes it worse. Providing shippers with achievable access and control over transactions and business opportunities will begin to relieve this noticeable pressure.
Since the pool of drivers is limited, the way to extract more capacity is to be more efficient in the use of trucks. Technology is used to make smart decisions about which mode of transport to use and to consolidate or consolidate freight. Technology can also play a vital role in measuring and improving the loaded weight inside trucks, given that the current average weight is far below the available capacity of these trucks. New technologies also allow shippers to use loaded miles more efficiently versus empty miles and limit downtime during loading and unloading, creating greater efficiency across the board.
Improving the ecosystem for drivers
One of the key elements to solving the driver shortage problem is to make drivers more valued within the supply chain. One way to achieve this is to improve driver accommodation at the loading, unloading and motorway points. Additionally, while women make up 46% of the overall workforce, they only make up 6% of the total driver workforce. Better conditions could make this potential workforce more comfortable choosing driving as a career option.
To strengthen relationships with drivers, some policy changes that put the driver first should be considered, including increased wages and better working conditions. Additionally, companies may offer new incentives such as stipends for trucking training or “guest worker programs” to fill gaps in schedules. Increasing compensation and benefits can also increase the pool of drivers. At the right price, more people will be willing to drive rather than consider other career choices.
Acknowledge the urgent call for transparency
Transparency and honesty will be essential for the recovery and stabilization of the supply chain in the coming year. Using real-time data, importers have direct access to a transparent and single point of truth throughout the supply chain. But this transparency must also apply to drivers.
Changes need to be made to traditional practices, and trucking companies need to work with technology-first shippers to improve the overall transportation management process. It is essential that the industry move towards more efficient shipping transactions and accessible transactional data that provides complete visibility at all levels.
Learning to adapt and create solutions that put drivers first and move goods in the fastest and most cost-effective way will not only save time and energy, but will ultimately create a more effective. This will be an evolutionary process – one that will need to be adapted and modified to have the best possible outcome to alleviate the problem of driver shortages. Starting with transparency about what gets adopted and what works and what doesn’t, we will move towards a healthier future for the industry, a future that relies on the support of frontline transport workers.