.The U.S. is currently facing a substantial truck driver shortage. How bad is it? In late October, the American Trucking Associations estimated that the nation was experiencing a shortage of nearly 78,000 drivers, and more than 11,000 trucking jobs were lost in September.
The future of the trucking and expedited freight industries appears even bleaker; the driver shortage could more than double to 160,000 drivers by 2031, according to predictions made by the American Trucking Associations last year. This deficiency undoubtedly has the potential to negatively impact expedited freight deliveries and shipments across the country and in Canada or Mexico, especially as the busy holiday season approaches.
Why is there a truck driver shortage?
There are numerous factors that are contributing to the ongoing scarcity of truck drivers in the U.S., including:
The Ever-Changing Landscape of E-Commerce
Earlier this year, national retail chain Walmart announced its plans to hire drivers to carry out shorter trips and deliveries, offering more than double the industry’s annual median pay of around $48,000 a year for long-haul truck drivers.
This move is indicative of an overall trend in the trucking and expedited freight industries. The growing demand for short-haul drivers and warehouse workers has made long-haul trucking positions more difficult to fill since they require longer workdays and more time spent away from home.
Businesses and expedited freight companies continue to face difficulties finding and keeping qualified, experienced drivers due to these "challenging working conditions," according to an assessment report released by the U.S. Department of Transportation earlier this year.
A Retiring Workforce
The Great Resignation, brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns in 2020, resulted in more than 47 million Americans leaving their jobs in 2021.
2020’s trucker shortage reached just under 60,000 drivers. And as more of the workforce reaches retiring age, expedited freight and shipping companies continue to face significant difficulty attracting young workers and female truckers.
Little Pay and Little to No Benefits
The median annual salary for big-rig drivers in 2021 was $48,310, or about $23 an hour. However, many truckers clock more than 60-70 hours per week, and they aren’t paid for any additional time spent waiting for goods to be loaded or unloaded.
Some aren’t compensated for overtime work, and many are forced to pay for their own fuel. Add poor healthcare or no healthcare benefits, and it’s easy to understand why more workers are seeking out alternative careers.
"If you ask any trucker, it's kind of like a broken record," Clayton Atkins, a 25-year-old trucker, told Business Insider earlier this year. "It's not a trucker shortage, it's a pay shortage.”
Is the truck driver shortage preventing companies from meeting their expedited freight deadlines?
Approximately 72 percent of the country’s freight by weight is transported by trucks, and an ongoing driver shortage could wreak further havoc on the American economy. Increasing prices due to product shortages, the rising cost of fuel, and inflation can lead to missed deadlines and lost revenue.
When businesses miss their deadlines, it can result in:
- Loss of revenue
- Damaged business partnerships
- Irreparable damage to a company’s reliability and reputation
How can AirFreight.com help your business meet its expedited freight shipping deadlines?
Expedited freight professionals at AirFreight.com have direct access to an extensive network of ground vehicles that have been carefully vetted for use, with teams of experienced trucker drivers located at key hubs across Canada, Mexico, and each U.S. state.
- Single point of contact: Work with the same expeditor during the entire journey of your shipment—no annoying call centers or having to explain your situation every time you reach out.
- Real-time tracking: We make sure that you always know exactly where your shipment is 24/7/365.
- A wide array of preapproved vehicles in key locations around the U.S., Canada, and Mexico: Choose from a vast suite of expedited, same-day, and time-critical services to fit your needs. Each vehicle has been vetted to ensure it meets the strictest safety standards. That means your expedited freight shipment will arrive damage-free.
Never miss a deadline again.
The nationwide truck driver shortage shows no sign of easing up anytime soon, which can leave businesses struggling to find a reliable logistics partner to transport goods quickly and safely. AirFreight.com can help. Get a quote and talk to one of our expeditors today!