Nationwide Trucker Shortage causing prices to rise

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – With a nationwide truck driver shortage going on that means many companies are having to up the prices of their products to afford the drivers that are out there. According to the American Trucking Association, there’s a need for more than 1-point-1 million drivers over the next 10 years.

A little over a year into the coronavirus pandemic and America is facing yet another shortage-truck drivers.

In fact, the trucking industry is not only facing one but two different types of shortages causing prices to rise. 

“We have a capacity shortage which means people who are shipping the goods are struggling to find trucks. The second piece is a driver shortage happens when companies have trucks but dont have drivers to fulfill them. Trucking rates are as high as 60% compared to pre covid levels. What’s driving that is higher demand for physical goods. Consumers during Covid went out and bought up a lot of physical productions instead of spending money on Entertainment,” says Craig Fuller, CEO of Freightwaves. 

Experts speculate that during the pandemic a lot of drivers were forced to stay home – so some are now choosing  not to return to work or have found a more suitable lifestyle making the same income – without the travel. 

“Trucking is hard work. It’s one of the hardest jobs. It is also one of the most dangerous jobs you can have. It takes a big toll on someone’s lifestyle. It isn’t attractive to a lot of millennials and younger people because they can find work that they are able to do that doesn’t require that level of labor. People can work in a warehouse for $15,$16, $17 an hour, they drive in the gig economy for the same rate and still be at home every single night. Millennials are not entering the trucking industry to replace the people who are leaving the trucking industry,” says Fuller. 

Throughout the last few years trucking companies have tried to make the industry more employee friendly— but experts say that in order to attract more drivers, there’s really only one solution. 

“While that headline number of making mid 50-$60,000 looks good on paper. The industry actually needs to go into the $70s-80,000 or even higher to be able to attract these jobs. Unless we see driver pay go up to a level to essentially attract new people in the industry it’s going to find qualified drivers,” says Fuller. 

Experts predict that the shortage is expected to grow over the next few years as more drivers move into retirement – yet the demand for freight transportation increases.

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News, Regional News