The truck driver shortage has been an issue for months now and industry experts believe this issue will be here in the upcoming period too.
What comes as a bigger problem right now is the fact that we are approaching the holiday season and truck drivers are need more than ever.
The truck driver shortage is also causing problems for local businesses and local trucking companies.
Some estimates show a historic high when it comes to driver openings nationally. The American Truck Driver Association estimates that 80,000 drivers are needed.
“We were on a driver shortage before COVID hit, and now we have more freight than we can move with people,” said Stephen Hupp, Terminal Manager for Estes Express Lines. “So hiring drivers has become a huge challenge for us.”
In an effort to be operational as much as they can in such situation, the company uses different approaches to the problem and tactics.
“We have raised our starting rates, we have offered bonuses and done things like that to try and get people to come to drive But today’s day and age, with COVID and people staying at home, they would rather be at home than spend 12 hours a day behind the wheel.”
Hupp says drivers are making upwards of $70-80,000 a year at shipping companies.
“Old Dominion Freight Lines, FedEx Freight lines, UPS Freight, Southeastern Freight Lines – those are all carriers who, before COVID-19, we were at the same pay rate as them. And now everyone is just kind of being sporadic and jumping around to trying to recruit drivers.”
According to Hupp, the truck driver shortage directly affects the supply shortage, a growing problem for businesses and consumers.
“This year around Christmas, we will see a shortage and a huge backlog of things that people want to buy for their families. So we are telling people to buy early, buy now, because it may not be there in December.”
Right now, there are 10 open truck driver positions in the company. In an effort to attract more people for the open positions, the company also offers training to obtain a commercial driver’s license for those interested in the job.