It seems as though the topic of Driver Shortage has been all but a distant memory as the trucking industry has experienced low freight levels through 2016. However, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel for freight. According to DAT, there has been more than a 100% increase in freight volumes in the spot market. Conversely, contract freight has been slow. None the less there are signs that the freight recession is coming to an end and as a result the trucking industry could face significant challenges meeting demands.
The recent freight recession is somewhat similar to 2008 when the industry experienced a significant downturn resulting in less drivers needed. As the market recovered after 2008 the driver shortage spiked. According to the ATA the driver shortage skyrocketed to 48,000 through 2015. Now we find ourselves in a similar situation and could be blind-sided by even a bigger spike. The ATA also predicts the driver shortage climbing to 174,000 by 2024. Fleets should be preparing now.
One of the biggest complaints for drivers are low wages or better stated, wages for the time they put in. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics the median wage for an over the road truck driver was just north of $40k in 2015. For a lot of drivers that is just not worth the amount of driving it takes to reach that wage, not to mention the amount of time away from home. A driver being gone from their family more than 50% of the time only to make $40k will only last so long. You can imagine most driver families would prefer to see their loved one home, but with more pay could make it more worthwhile of a sacrifice. Obviously, there is a lot more that goes into this, but one thing is for sure pay must improve in order to attract a new generation of drivers.
One solution to help mitigate some of the capacity issues fleets will be facing this year is utilizing a drive away service. Not only do fleets need to get freight moved, but they also deal with moving their assets. To often fleets are using drivers for unproductive moves when they could be using them on money producing loads. This happens when fleets have to recover units, sell units, or make terminal moves. In addition, some drive away service providers can deck trucks, moving up to 4 units at a time, as a result saving fleets a lot of money. Contracting with a service to provide additional drivers for those types of moves can help fleets maximize their capacity to generate revenue.
About Team Drive Away:
Team Drive–Away is the trucking industry’s leading provider of commercial vehicle transport and delivery. Whether you are buying trucks, selling trucks, or making terminal moves, let Team Drive-Away coordinate moving your assets. Thousands of fleets, dealers, and other asset managers, have already discovered significant cost savings and improved efficiency through Team Drive-Away.