Truck Driver Shortage Worsens Supply Chain Crisis
The global supply chain crisis is complex, with multiple causes ranging from labor shortages to pandemic mitigation efforts to changes in demand. One important cause is the shortage of truck drivers.
How important are truck drivers to the economy?
Truck drivers are responsible for moving more than 70% of the U.S. economy’s goods, so they have a central role in keeping the supply chain running smoothly. Items often come into the U.S. on ships and are then picked up at ports by truck drivers. When there aren’t enough truck drivers, goods sit at ports causing backlogs and congestion.
How severe is the shortage?
The trucking industry is currently 80,000 workers short of what it needs to keep up with the pace of shipping. There was already a shortage before the pandemic, but the gap has increased 30% since then. If the issue isn’t fixed, the shortage is likely to double to 160,000 workers by 2030. Another more immediate factor that could worsen the shortage is the upcoming vaccine mandate, which could cause up to 37% of workers to leave the industry due to vaccine hesitancy.
What are some possible solutions?
Like the overall supply chain crisis, the shortage of truck drivers has multiple causes and will therefore require a multi-pronged solution. Trucking driving requires extended periods of time away from home, and many have concerns about pay and infrastructure. The industry has also had difficulty attracting and retaining female employees, and a higher proportion of older workers means that many are retiring.
Improving the age demographics is a good place to start fixing the shortage. The bipartisan infrastructure bill that recently passed in the House includes a training program that would allow 18-20 year olds to start working in the truck driving industry. This would quickly add 3000 new drivers, who would normally need to wait until age 21 to start working as commercial drivers.
If you’re looking for a trucking and logistics company that can adapt to the industry’s changing needs, contact R&A Trucking today.