How many of you knew that we were suffering a massive trucker shortage? This little known issue actually effects us all but rarely gains the appropriate level of publicity to promote change. There are several issues contributing to the massive shortage of truck drivers in the United States. We will touch on the major ones, as we see it, here.
First, the industry is heavily regulated with tons of red tape for both owners and drivers. One of the many hurdles for drivers and owners are insurance regulations. We are a short haul company. Our drivers are home with their families every night. They have some say in their daily hours and routes and in this industry that is a huge luxury. In order for us to hire a driver for these more desirable shifts our insurance requires a minimum of 2 years driving experience. Typically the only companies that have insurance that allows them to hire inexperienced drivers are large corporations such as Schneider Logistics. They are able to do this because they can pair an experienced driver with the less experienced driver and send them out together over the road. Typically, someone with a family to care for, a college graduate or many people for various reasons are not going to be attracted to the idea of disappearing over the road for long periods of time and missing family and friends, while enduing the stress of these hauls. Would you? But they have to get their experience somewhere.
This leads us to the next insurance issue. Another piece of red tape is the minimum age requirement of 23 years. A company can not recruit high school aged men and woman that do not apsire to go to college to come work for them. There is an important gap in time between high school and the age of 23 when most individuals are making career decisions and moving forward accordingly. This also contributes to the industries aging problem. According to Brian Fielkow, CEO of Jetco Delivery, quoted in a Fox Business article “…the average age in the for-hire truckload market is about 49, and for less-than-truckload drivers (LTL) and private carriers the average is about 55.”
When interviewing our very own Jay Newjahr, owner and CEO of Best Yet Express, he immediately highlighted all the issues mentioned above and added, “It’s become a ‘fall back’ job for people. Most drivers have grown up with a family member in the industry and that’s where they gain their initial exposure. My first question when interviewing a potential candidate is always ‘Are you passionate about this job?’ It’s hard for us to attract new candidates with all the red tape.”
The massive trucker shortage doesn’t just effect drivers and other industry professionals. It also has an effect on consumers and the economy. Almost everything we buy in a store comes in off a truck. As the economy improves so does demand for shipped commodities but when there isn’t enough capacity to keep up with demand the effect is felt across the board in all commodity based industries.
We strive to negate all the industry stereotypes. We have worked hard to meet the demands of the industry while keeping our drivers happy, home with their families and earning competitive salaries. Our employees are in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s but are certainly not lacking in experience or exposure. Our tun over rate is low. We believe in a family environment with mutual respect. We are always hopeful that these issues will gain the publicity needed to make some movement towards change for all of us. In the mean time, we will continue marching forward.
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