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Tuesday, May 28 2019
The Many Faces of Truck Driver Shortage

ORLANDO, Fla.—Trucking contributes enormously to our economy. Seventy percent of freight, over 10 billion tons annually, ships via trucks. Our modern economy could not exist without reliable truck transportation; any uncertainty would render just-in-time production impractical.

The truck driver shortage has been reported for years noting trucking companies’ struggles to hire drivers. Many immigrants have taken advantage of these available jobs, and to be honest, we need to thank them for their commitment and for helping our economy to continue to grow. 

Recently, a mechanical engineering student who supported himself by driving a truck faces deportation from Canada to India for working more hours than his study permit allowed.  The driver was pulled over during a routine traffic stop in 2017. The police officer, after reviewing his log book, discovered that he had worked more than 20 hours – above the weekly limit under his permit to study in Canada, and is required to leave by June 15. In light of that, the Ontario Trucking Association has called on Canada to bring in more foreign truckers to address a driver shortage. 

Truckers create tremendous value, but the demands of the job heavily burden people. Long hours and extensive travel constitute a more significant limit. Days on the road make having a life, and particularly a family, difficult. Truckers must be paid extra to accept these undesirable working conditions. Economists expect that prices or salaries will rise to quickly eliminate shortages and fall to eliminate surpluses.

Fast Facts About Truck Driving Careers

  • The trucking industry today employs 7.7 million people, which includes 3.5 million drivers.
  • Currently, it’s estimated that only 200,000 drivers are women, which accounts for only 5.8% of drivers.
  • The number of trucking jobs is expected to grow by 6% by 2026.
  • About 1.7 million truck drivers are heavy and tractor-trailer drivers.
  • Approximately 40.6% of drivers are minorities.
  • As of May 2017, the median pay for heavy and tractor-trailer drivers was $42,480 per year.
  • In 2019, truck driver wages are expected to rise by up to 10%.
  • Truck drivers can work up to 65 hours a week.

Although some economic experts predict that 2019 will see a decrease in general economic growth — and, by extension, a dip in the growth of the trucking industry — the sector still serves as a big source of revenue in the U.S. Furthermore, as e-commerce continues to grow, the demand for trucks continues to rise alongside it, although this will probably prove to be more of a boon to LTL trucking companies than any others.

On the other side, self-driving technology could be a boon to truckers. Experts suggest that the technology will be operational on rural interstates long before for urban driving. If so, trucks could drive autonomously between cities, with truckers driving across urban areas. A trucker driving rigs across Birmingham all day could go home every night. Autonomous trucks may not initially reduce the number of drivers, rather change driving arrangements.

According to a recent report from New York research firm CB Insights, investors have poured $2 billion into trucking tech startups through May 21. Hyeri Kim from CB noted that the $2 billion figure encompassed 27 deals. For all of 2018, investment in the sector reached $3.6 billion. Investment in trucking tech has been so strong that it is poised to begin setting records not by a little, but by a lot. 

According to CB Insights, funding activity for truck tech startups jumped from 34 deals resulting in $114 million in 2014 to 78 deals resulting in $3.6 billion in 2018.

Posted by: AT 08:39 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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