We came across an interesting article in the Memphis Journal commenting on the recent talks about the truck driver shortage in 2014 and beyond. The journal was covering the Inland Distribution Conference where a Walmart driver, Allen Boyd had some thoughts on how there could be part of a solution other than just hiring more drivers,

“If we can figure out how to keep that driver moving, the (shortage) numbers aren’t that big of a deal.”

Currently, the ATA is projecting the shortage of truck drivers has grown to nearly 48,000. They say that it is due to industry growth and a retiring workforce. American Trucking Associations’ Chief Economist Bob Costello says,

“America’s trucking industry moves nearly 70% of the country’s freight and we need drivers to do it. While turnover is not at historic highs, it is still high enough to merit concern. Fleets need to hire 89,000 drivers a year to keep pace with retirements and projected growth, so ensuring an adequate pool of qualified drivers is critical.”

While those may be 2 key factors in the shortage, what about the idea of getting trucks on the road faster and making sure drivers are paid for their time accordingly? How many fewer drivers would be needed to bridge the 48,000 shortage in drivers?

Allen Boyd goes on to tell a story at the conference about a friend, “I got a call from a friend of mine just the other day who waited a day and a half on a load and he didn’t get paid” a dime for the time”.

That seems pretty frustrating. Perhaps this frustration is shown in another statistic from the ATA that driver turnover in large companies’ rose 3% in the second quarter. While it is not stated whether or not the drivers simply go to another company or leave the business altogether, it is clear that there is disruption in the workforce.

As frustrating as long wait times with no pay is to current drivers, perhaps it is even making it difficult to find new entrants into the field.

Costello commented on driver turnover saying “We repeatedly hear from carriers that they are unable to find enough qualified drivers, leading to fears of a growing driver shortage and these numbers (48,000) reflect that.”

This topic is something that we take seriously because it is important to Eagle to have satisfied shippers, carriers and agents. We work hard to ensure that you have all the information you need to pick-up a load quickly and hassle-free.

We know the importance of a freight that pays well and has less dead head. We know that it is important to keep you moving.

But what do you think? It sounds like Allen Boyd had a lot of good observations and that’s because he is in the field, working it every day and that’s why we want to hear from you.

Tell us your thoughts and we hope to engage in an open conversation about how the industry can change.