Growth leads to truck driver shortage

During a press conference this summer, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) released its 25th Annual “State of Logistics Report, which showed that total U.S. business logistics costs in 2013 rose to $1.39 trillion, a 2.3 percent increase from the previous year.


Furthermore, “logistics as a percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) declined for the second year in a row, indicating that the logistics sector is not keeping pace with the growth in the overall economy,” reported


The article on the report also stated that consultant Rosalyn Wilson of Parsons, who authored the report, has tracked and measured all costs associated with moving freight through the U.S. supply chain since 1988. This year’s report presents an overview of the economy during the past year, the logistics industry’s key trends, and the total U.S. logistics costs for 2013. The recovery from the Great Recession has been protracted, and economic performance has been weak. The research examines the economic vitality as well as challenges faced by each sector, and concludes with a brief overview of industry indicators for the beginning of 2014 and thoughts about performance for the remainder of the year.


“This year’s report reveals that the transportation sector grew 2.0 percent, with all modes experiencing modest gains in revenue,” the article stated. “Despite the weak revenue picture, tonnage was up due to heavier average loads per shipment.”


However, despite growth in the trucking industry, there is still concern over the growing truck driver shortage.


“The lack of drivers to fill seats in existing equipment, decline in productivity of existing drivers due to Hours of Service (HOS) Regulations, and coupled with an uptick in trucking company bankruptcies in 2013 contributed to constricting truck capacity as volume picked up,” reported.


Overall, the economic situation is improving and it’s driving up the demand for trucking services.


“Consumers’ assessment of the present situation continues to improve, with both business conditions and the job market rated more favorably,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Looking ahead six months, consumers expect the economy and their earnings to improve, but were somewhat mixed regarding the outlook for jobs. All in all, confidence appears to be back on track and rising expectations suggest the economy may pick up some momentum in the months ahead.”


Because of the growth in manufactured goods, the commercial truck industry is experiencing a growth in demand that has led to a driver shortage.

“There has been an underlying quality driver shortage for many years, but it’s been masked by the recession,” Mike Hinz, president of the van division at Roehl Transport, told Bloomberg BusinessWeek.


However, now that the overall economy is showing signs of growth, the shortage of quality truck drivers is becoming more evident. As industries such as manufacturing and construction begin to grow, the demand for trucking services is also rising, which is a challenge for many carriers who are unable to find the right type of professionally trained trucker.


The truck driver shortage is impacting truck carriers all across the country. “Nationwide there are about 25,000 unfilled truck driving jobs, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA),” reported BusinessWeek. “That’s a manageable shortfall for now, given a still-struggling economy and lower-than-expected demand. Analysts expect freight volumes, which were flat in 2013, to rise only slightly in 2014—but that could be enough to create a need for more drivers.”


As the economy continue to grow, the driver shortage will only get worse.


“As exports rise,” Hinz said, “we’ll see a driver shortage that is modest today become acute.” The U.S. government projects that 330,000 new truckers will be needed by 2020.

Because of the shortage of quality driver, now is the perfect time to consider a new career as a commercial truck driver. Hamrick offers a CDL training program that is equipping students with the skills and experience today’s employers are looking for. This means students of Hamrick have an opportunity to fill the thousands of vacancies for quality truck drivers that can be found all across the country.