Thursday, March 22, 2018

Labor Shortage in Trucking Industry Results in Loads Being Refused

Anyone following the driver shortage saga for the last three decades might think trucking has been crying wolf. After all, with each economic uptick since at least 1998 has come panic over the lack of drivers. And yet freight virtually always gets delivered, and store shelves are only empty when snow threatens south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

But this time, experts say, it’s more than just hype: Carriers are turning down loads, desperate shippers are paying double in some markets, and “we’ve heard stories of freight sitting on the docks,” says Todd Amen, president and chief executive officer of ATBS, a trucking financial services provider.

Over the past decade, for-hire driver pay has increased but at nowhere near the same pace as that of drivers for private fleets and nearly 40 percent less than growth in the minimum wage, according to analysis by the National Transportation Institute. Inflation also has outpaced driver pay increases.

A confluence of factors makes today’s situation different, says Gordon Klemp, president of the National Transportation Institute: A rebounding ecomony, a historically tight labor market and regulation-driven productivity losses all are conspiring to bring trucking’s underlying labor problem into full view. The American Trucking Associations estimates the industry is short 50,000 drivers, a deficit it says could grow to 174,000 over the next decade.

The situation has for-hire and even private fleets scrambling to fill seats, throwing money at drivers and exacerbating turnover rates that reached 95 percent at large carriers in the third quarter of 2017, according to ATA. In CCJ’s own monthly MarketPulse survey, nearly 90 percent of fleet executives in December cited driver availability as their biggest concern, the highest level in the survey’s history.

CLICK HERE to read the entire CCJ article


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