Driver shortage defines trucking for 2021

From Transport Topics.

The shortage of professional drivers quickly became the defining issue for the industry during the past year with its far-reaching effects.

American Trucking Associations estimates that the industry needs 80,000 more drivers. That figure is expected to worsen in the years ahead with a lack of new drivers to offset retirements and growing demand.

“This year definitely feels different than driver shortages in the past,” Daniel Most, vice president of operations and safety at CPC Logistics, told Transport Topics. “It seems that no matter what you’re throwing at different markets, you’re just not getting responses.”

The shortage has existed for years, but it has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. ATA had estimated that prior to the pandemic the driver shortage was 61,500. Now the industry is competing over the same limited pool of drivers, which has resulted in turnover and numerous companies raising pay.

“I think that you can’t really talk about driver turnover looking at the last two years and not talk about COVID,” Scott Dismuke, director of operations at Professional Driver Agency, told TT. “I think what was interesting is kind of the shift from 2020 to 2021. I think in 2020, COVID actually kept drivers from jumping a whole lot. With the economy shutting down, everything froze.”

Dismuke added that the uncertainty kept workers in place for the first three months of the pandemic.

See the complete article online at Transport Topics.