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The Impact of the Truck Driver Shortage on Logistics in 2023

The man loads the truck with packages.

The surging shipping prices caused by the pandemic have mostly stabilized. However, while shipping rates are relatively stable and reaching pre-pandemic levels, the logistics and transportation industry is still struggling with one of the main reasons behind the price hikes – the truck driver shortage.

And given the fact that trucking is the backbone of the U.S. economy – 72.6% of goods were moved by trucks in 2022, a lack of truckers may cause supply chain disruptions from sourcing raw materials to delivering goods to end consumers.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the truck driver shortage in the U.S., including the reasons behind it and the effects it has on the economy and consumers alike. So let us start with the foundation.

The Reasons Behind the Truck Driver Shortage in the U.S.

The trucker shortage is not a new phenomenon – it is a challenge the logistics industry has been grappling with for over a decade. However, as of right now, no final solution has been found. The American Trucking Association (ATA) estimates that there are 78,000 unfilled truck driver jobs

Further, the ATA estimates that 1,2 million new truckers will need to be hired by 2030. Given the current shortage, hiring and training such a large workforce may be unrealistic. So, what are the reasons behind the truck driver shortage?

1. The Working Conditions' Effect on Retention Rates

The trucking industry in the United States is notorious for its demanding working conditions, which have deterred many from pursuing or staying in this career. Long hours on the road, extended periods away from home, and the physical demands of the job can exact a heavy toll on truckers' well-being and job satisfaction.

Truckers often spend weeks or even months away from their families, straining personal lives and making it challenging to maintain a healthy work-life balance. The physically taxing nature of the profession can lead to health problems, including obesity, sleep disorders, and chronic stress.

Additionally, the relatively low pay for entry-level trucking positions has dissuaded potential candidates from considering a career in trucking. All of this leads to low retention rates for existing truckers and an insufficient number of new applicants.

2. An Aging Workforce

Another critical factor contributing to the trucking shortage is the driver demographics, particularly the age of drivers. As older drivers retire, there is a notable shortage of younger individuals entering the industry.

In 2022, the average age for professional truck drivers was 47. That is one of the older average ages for a profession in the U.S. Such an aging demographic is a strong indicator that the shortage will not be easily resolved in the near future.

Additionally, federal regulations disallow people under 21 to become long-haul truckers, which further stymies a potential expansion of the workforce. This trend is further exacerbated by the lack of appeal and perception of the job among younger generations, for the reasons we mentioned above, again limiting the entry of potential drivers.

3. The Turbulence Caused by the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a severe blow to the already strained trucking industry. While the pandemic itself did not directly cause the shortage of drivers, it exacerbated existing issues. Lockdowns, health concerns, and supply chain disruptions made the job even more challenging for commercial drivers. 

Even with most restrictions being lifted and the situation becoming relatively normalized, the logistics industry is still reeling from the pandemic’s effects.

The Effects of the Shortage

The shortage of truck drivers has had far-reaching consequences across various sectors, impacting both businesses and consumers alike. Some of the key negative effects are:

  • Increased Prices: One of the most visible effects of the shortage is rising prices. With fewer drivers available to transport goods, the cost of shipping has surged. These increased transportation costs are often passed on to consumers, resulting in higher prices for everyday goods.
  • Longer Delivery Times: Delays in transportation have become more common due to the shortage, leading to longer delivery times. This can disrupt supply chains, increase inventory carrying costs for businesses, and create frustration for consumers.
  • Logistics Bottlenecks: The shortage has created bottlenecks in logistics operations. Businesses are struggling to find available trucking capacity, causing inefficiencies in the movement of goods and hindering economic growth.

Efficiently Dealing with the Shortage

There is no easy solution for the truck driver shortage. However, you can minimize the effects it has on your daily operations by partnering with a professional logistics company. UNIVAL Logistics can deal with the challenge of delivering your goods safely and on time.

We specialize in the transportation of high-end goods, from jewelry to valuable tech, and provide full-value insurance for your parcels at premium rates. We know how to optimize delivery routes so that your customers always receive the packages they are expecting.

If you have any questions about the benefits of partnering with UNIVAL Logistics or wish to learn more about our processes and how they fit with yours, feel free to contact us.

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