16. November 2012 07:29
During the past several years, we have read and heard thousands of words on the truck driver shortage in the country. There is no doubt that a shortage exists. Let's face it; long hours, government intervention, marginal rest facilities, bad roads, bad food and relatively low pay tend to push truck driving pretty far down on most of our lists of ambitions. Unfortunately, we have heard so much about the subject, with widely varying descriptions of the problem, many of us have taken a rather "ho hum" position on the issue. We need to wake up, however. For shippers, fewer drivers add up to less capacity and higher costs. It is not just a carrier problem. It affects all of us.
This month, Bob Costello of the American Trucking Associations published an update which should be of major concern. Costello estimates a current shortage of 20,000 – 25,000 drivers for the over-the-road carriers; but this is expected to explode to 239,000 by 2022. Hours of service regulations and the CSA program are expected to decrease productivity, further exacerbating the problem.
|Trucker dog guards the tractor. (Source)
And it is not all about money. It is a lifestyle issue that will not be resolved by a few dollars per hour. Shippers need to work with carriers and drivers in an effort to make the job more "comfortable" and less stressful. Facilities for drivers at many shippers' and receivers' facilities are substandard, at best, and in some cases, there are no provisions for female drivers at all. Improvements can be inexpensive. For example, a significant number of drivers travel with their dogs, and some companies have provided a place for drivers to walk their dogs, as well as made sure there are always a few dog treats on hand. These firms have experienced a marked difference in the service they are provided.
We would do well to remember that happy truck drivers contribute greatly to the success of the nation's supply chain.