America’s Truck Driving Shortage

truck driving shortage

Did you know that America currently has a truck driving shortage of 51,000 drivers? As a result, shipping costs in the US have risen dramatically. According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), companies like Amazon and Walmart continue to exacerbate the problem by shipping more and more products across the nation.

Read on to learn more about the effects of the trucking shortage in America.

Delayed Deliveries and Higher Prices

The shortage of truck drivers is already being felt by consumers. Goods are taking longer to arrive. And prices are going up. In the first quarter, Cocoa Cola’s freight costs skyrocketed by 20 percent, and the company’s predicting a diminished second quarter as a result.

Amazon saw shipping costs increase by a whopping 38 percent while sales lagged behind at 18 percent. As a result, it was forced to make a decision between eating the additional shipping costs or passing them on to consumers. In Amazon’s case, they increased their Amazon Prime membership from an annual fee of $99 to $199.

What’s more, the ATA doesn’t see the trucking shortage getting any better any time soon. In fact, they predict the problem will get much worse in the coming years. This year, the shortage could surpass 63,000. By 2026, some are predicting a lack of 174,000 drivers! And consumers will continue to feel the consequences…

Why the Trend Isn’t Changing

So, what’s the trucking industry doing to try to fill the deficit? To attract new employees, some trucking companies are offering higher salaries and signing bonuses. But they’re not seeing the turnout in new employees that they hoped for. Many, like Brian Fielkow, president of the multimillion-dollar trucking and logistics company Jetco Delivery, believe the shortage will persist and even worsen.

Why? According to Fielkow, “This is a society problem… shippers, consumers, retailers are paying the price because for so long it was all about squeezing prices on the trucking side and that made it very difficult to make a compelling case to attract new talent to the industry.”

With an aging demographic, difficulties attracting the next generation of workers, and lack of qualified candidates, the trucking industry faces some steep challenges to face current needs. What’s more, projected figures from the ATA suggest that the trucking industry would need to hire approximately 900,000 drivers through 2026 in order to keep up with shipping demands.

The Truck Driving Shortage

Not everything about the truck driving shortage is bad. Skilled drivers have abundant opportunities to make more money. According to Michael Dow, co-owner of Dow Brothers Transportation, “The rates have never been this good in over 20 years. I hope the driver shortage continues. Skilled drivers like me aren’t cheap right now. I’m anticipating I’ll make $85,000 to $120,000 this year.”

What are your thoughts on the truck driving shortage? Do you think there’s a silver lining for drivers? Let us know in the comments below.

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truck driving shortage

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