Trucking news: Various factors pointing towards another truck driver shortage

As trucking capacity continues to tighten and freight demand returns, many freight transportation stakeholders maintain that the specter of a future truck driver shortage is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when.’

By ·

As trucking capacity continues to tighten and freight demand returns, many freight transportation stakeholders maintain that the specter of a future truck driver shortage is not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when.’

This was made clear earlier this month by Charles W. “Chuck” Clowdis, Managing Director, Transportation Advisory Services, at IHS Global Insight, in a research note.

“It is…extremely likely that a repeat of driver shortage will return and intensify as drivers turn instead to construction and other jobs as the economy recovers,” wrote Clowdis.

Talk regarding a driver shortage, like economic booms and busts, is highly cyclical. And in industry circles, it appears a shortage may be coming sooner than later.

Along with tightening capacity and supply and demand ostensibly reaching an inflection point, another driver for a potential scramble for drivers is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA), which was scheduled to kick off this year but was recently moved to 2011.

CSA is a procedure which will dictate how the federal government rates trucking companies and drivers. It will be rolled out in November and continue in phases into 2011. The FMCSA decided to delay it due to concerns from the trucking industry over fairness concerns.

As LM has previously reported, shippers should be concerned about the new safety rating program for one major reason: it could raise their trucking rates. That’s because the program potentially could reduce the available driver pool by as much as 7 percent, thus reducing truck capacity at a time when the economic recovery is expected to stress the already reduced over-the-road capacity of many fleets.

What’s more, results from a recent Transport Capital Partners’ survey of truckload carriers showed only half of the carriers were ready for CSA 2010. TCP, a leading firm in transportation mergers and acquisitions, capital sourcing and advisory services, uses the quarterly survey to collect the insights and opinions of executives nationwide in order to report on the current state of the truckload industry and future expectations.

And while some carriers will need additional drivers, it does not translate into hiring and training prospects into a sure thing, according to FTR Associates, a freight transportation forecasting firm.

In a recent report, FTR explained that “while there are sufficient numbers of experienced drivers looking for work the fleets have pared down their hiring and training departments so severely during the recent downturn that most will be challenged to process a sufficient number of drivers to fill previously parked trucks…[with] the industry’s hiring ability” cut by one third.

“Anecdotally we have heard that driver suppliers are tightening up and with that companies tend to change their hiring tactics slightly,” said Clayton Boyce, American Trucking Associations spokesman. “They do more active outreach and recruiting, and if they had suspended operations of their driver training schools, they may have re-opened them. What that does for qualified candidates is remove the burden of having to pay to attend a school, because a company will train and teach them.”

Boyce added that carriers also tend to entice candidates through an attractive benefit and pay package.


Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
The Benefits of Shared Transportation & Supply Chain Networks
In this new digital issue, the editors of Logistics Management have gathered four feature articles designed to help mangers break away from traditional, “transactional” relationships and move toward integrated provider partnerships for freight transportation.
Download Today!
From the August 2016 Issue
A growing number of low-cost lift trucks offer new avenues for pairing equipment and applications, but less cautious buyers might find that small up-front costs come at a steep price. Selecting the proper lift truck, lift truck tips 2016, Choosing the right Lift Truck
Megatrends in ocean freight
Ocean Cargo Roundtable: What’s in store for 2017?
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Getting the most out of your 3PL relationship
Join Evan Armstrong, president of Armstrong & Associates, as he explains how creating a balanced portfolio of "Top 50" global and domestic partners can maximize efficiency and mitigate risk.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
2016 Quest for Quality: Winners Take the Spotlight
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers and U.S. ports have crossed the service-excellence...
Regional ports concentrate on growth and connectivity
With the Panama Canal expansion complete, ocean cargo gateways in the Caribbean are investing to...

Digital Reality Check
Just how close are we to the ideal digital supply network? Not as close as we might like to think....
Top 25 ports: West Coast continues to dominate
The Panama Canal expansion is set for late June and may soon be attracting more inbound vessel calls...