The issue of truck driver pay and industry retention of the drivers is the focus of a new three-part series at Commercial Carrier Journals.
The article, “Weighing demand for drivers, Part 1: Shippers prepare for capacity crunch“ looks to cover the reasons behind the industry’s driver shortage in the US, and the impact it’s having on shippers, fleets, truck drivers, capacity and more. Writer Kevin Jones (Senior Editor, Trucking Media) sees that the simple solution to increasing the numbers of drivers should be to raise their wages. But it’s not that easy. He writes:
“Though pay in some trucking niches has surged, it has been comparatively flat for trucking as a whole. Since 2003, wages for the entire for-hire trucking industry have grown 32 percent, slightly less than the entire private work force, at 34 percent.”
The article describes reasons besides stagnant wages why there has been what it calls a ‘persistent’ driver shortage:
- Older drivers: A large number of long-time drivers are approaching retirement age;
- New regulations: Many drivers have left because of new regulations like the Compliance Safety Accountability program, have pushed many drivers out of the industry;
- Productivity losses: losses due to new hours-of-service regulations will increase driver demand, and;
- Reluctance: Fleets are reluctant to add capacity in a sporadic economic recovery.
Let’s face facts: The last five years have not been great for the trucking industry as a whole. It’s been a prolonged period of stagnation on the economic recovery front. And moreover, driver pay won’t dramatically increase unless the trucking business costs lower or the industry as whole increases the volume of moving shipments. Under the current administration, it’s not an entirely promising outlook.
But in the midst of these difficulties, Calhoun Truck Lines has increased our driver fleet 35% this year. Much of our firm’s success relates to allocating more resources towards driver retention and driver education. We spent more time training our drivers and using a variety of incentives to retain our fleet. Yes, the overall regulatory environment and an evolving intermodal sector is difficult to manage in the midst of these changes. But we feel that this environment can present many opportunities for drivers to succeed and stay close to home.
If you’re a truck driver and interested in driving for one of the leading intermodal trucking firms in the Midwest, please contact us. We’d be happy to learn more about you and see if you’re ready to go trucking with us.