May 2011 Brief news clip video that includes interviews with Perkins Specialized Transportation Owner/CEO Andy Card and Stephen Russell, CEO of Celadon. Both men discuss the current shortage of Long Haul Drivers.
August 2011. This interview from Fox News is with Mike O'Connell, Executive Director of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association. It outlines the current state of the Driver Shortage.
Jan 2011. The 21st annual State of Logistics Report, sponsored by Penske Logistics and released by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) this week, doesn’t paint a rosy picture of trucking’s future. Rosalyn Wilson, author of the annual 'State of Logistics' report; talks about the long term consequences of the Driver Shortage.
2010. Kevin Denny is CEO at Troop Transition. They provide training, certification and job placement services to men and women leaving military service. One of the occupations they provide these services for is Truck Driving with a program is called Troops 2 Truckers. While this program can only provide a small fraction of the new drivers our industry requires, it does exemplify the type of innovative initiatives we need to address the upcoming Driver Shortage. Click on image to access video.
April 2000. The Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University has performed several insightful and interesting studies on Driver Turnover and Driver Retention. The image below takes the reader to an index page where a half dozen of these studies can be accessed. Perhaps the most interesting article is the one entitled 'The Costs of Truckload Driver Turnover'. Click on image to access reports.
January 2011. Pottle's Transportation out of Bangor Maine combined two important influences of Driver Retention - Compensation and Communication- into a program that helps them retain drivers. Called the 'Hidden Paycheck', CEO Barry Pottle regularly provides his drivers a detailed benefits statement that itemizes all compensation costs the company pays on their behalf. Click on image to read article.
VP Communications & CMO, Con-way Inc.
The good news is that most analysts agree that the economy is on the rebound. Most retailers are reporting stronger sales for November and December and manufacturing is still in the range indicative of a growing economy. Paradoxically, what is good news for the U.S. economy will exacerbate the challenges for the trucking industry.
A perfect storm of conditions will likely result in the largest driver shortage in the history of our industry, far surpassing the shortages of 2004 and 1985. Fewer drivers mean carriers will face capacity challenges that will make it difficult to meet the service needs of customers. Based on the lessons learned from past shortages, shippers can and must act now to address capacity issues.
The recent economic conditions led to a shrinking trucking fleet nationwide, with 152,000 fewer drivers on the road today than there were in 2007 (according to the American Trucking Association). Two impending government regulations have the potential to significantly worsen the issue. The first is implementation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s “Comprehensive Safety Analysis” or CSA 2010, which will result in new driver performance standards. Industry analysts and most carriers agree that the new, more stringent safety standards are important, however, they do have the potential to remove up to 10 percent of the current driver workforce from the road.
The second regulation involves new hours-of-service (HOS) logging regulations expected to be announced by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) any day. Expected changes in HOS rules will, in effect, require more drivers to move the same amount of freight and could reduce daily capacity by as much as nine percent.
In addition to these changing government regulations, with one in six truck drivers over the age of 55, fleet owners expect retiring baby boomers to shrink the driver pool even further.
During the last major driver shortage in 2004, the driver deficit was 130,000 and many saw freight being abandoned on the docks. According to Noel Perry, Freight Transportation Research Associates (FTR), and other analysts, the 2012 driver deficit is predicted to be in the range of 250,000 – 350,000 drivers, so the industry must prepare now or face potential catastrophic results.
We learned a lot in 2004 and those lessons must be applied now — awareness and early preparation are critical to crafting an industrywide response. The emphasis must be on doing more with less by reducing inefficiencies and planning wisely. That means we must work together to implement practices and policies that will increase capacity today.
For shippers, this means negotiating contracts early with your truckload providers to secure equitable pricing and secure capacity. Advances in technology and supply chain have also made it possible to implement more effective and efficient shipping and receiving practices to reduce costly waiting and dwell time for truckload carriers. The focus should be on eliminating driver delays, expanding pickup and delivery windows, creating drop-and-hook operations, and strategically building your carrier base to enhance productivity and efficiency.
For trucking companies, this means a renewed focus on attracting, training and retraining drivers as well as looking for ways to expand the pool of drivers through awareness and retention programs.
The bottom line is that while there is no single solution to the impending capacity shortage, it’s not too soon to begin planning for this shortage and apply the lessons of 2004 to ensure that customers and consumers continue to receive the service they expect.
Tom Nightingale is vice president, communications and chief marketing officer (CMO) for Con-way Inc. (NYSE:CNW), a $4.3 billion freight transportation and logistics services company headquartered in San Mateo, Calif. Con-way delivers industry-leading services through its primary operating companies of Con-way Freight, Menlo Worldwide Logistics and Con-way Truckload. These operating units provide high-performance, day-definite less-than-truckload (LTL), full truckload and intermodal freight transportation; logistics, warehousing and supply chain management services; and trailer manufacturing. Con-way Inc. and its subsidiaries operate from more than 440 operating locations across North America and in 18 countries across five continents.