Trucker's Voice

American Truck Driver Shortage Enigma

American Truck Driver Shortage Enigma

It’s no longer a big secret: American trucking companies are in grave need of more drivers, and they need them now! Despite the fact that truck drivers drive the US economy, the industry itself has struggled to bring in new drivers for the past decade and a half or so.

You see, 70% of American consumer merchandise is delivered by trucks, according to ATA. However, the trucking sector has to inject nearly 300.000 more drivers to meet the rising demand. But, that is clearly not happening. To make the matters even worse, the freight volumes continue to soar driven primarily by growing demand from online e-commerce platforms like Amazon and eBay.

The shortage hit a record low at the beginning of 2018, with only one driver available per 12 truckloads requiring to be shipped. Startling, right?

Far-Reaching Consequences

The repercussions of the truck driver shortage, of course, are felt far and wide in the American economy. The trucking companies are experiencing declining revenue and profits year-in-year-out. In 2016, for instance, the turnover rate at large truckload companies with over $30 million in annual revenue saw a 13% hived off in the 1st quarter and further 6% decrease in the subsequent quarter to stagger at around 83%.

The ripple effect also affects the retailers, which are the most prominent clients of trucking companies. The driver shortage has pushed some of them to either put off the shipment of nonessentials or pay top dollar to get their loads delivered on time. As you also might expect, the high cost of truck delivery always trickles down to the consumer.

No matter how you look at it, the never-ending shortage of truck drivers is affecting every facet of our economy. Which begs the question: what’s behind the deficit in truck drivers?