Driver Shortage Constrains Trucking Industry Growth

Speaking at the recently held ATA  (American Trucking Association) Management Conference & Exhibition, the ATA’s Chief Economist Bob Costello stated that:  “freight volumes in the trucking industry continue to grow, but the looming driver shortage could hold back industry growth”. He said “Industry revenue and average revenue per mile are increasing nicely as capacity remains constrained. However, the industry is having a difficult time adding trucks due to driver shortage.”

The problem isn’t restricted to the US. In Britain the UK Freight Transport Association reports a similar situation. The RHA Chief Executive Richard Burnett put it in a nutshell: “there are simply not enough drivers to keep the economy moving”.  

With this shortfall in mind, making the most efficient use of each driver to deliver cost-effectively and maintain the best customer service is more important than ever.

So what can the planner do, if there are not enough drivers?

The first step is to make the best use of the available fleet. Using computerized routing and scheduling can help save 10%-30% on miles driven (and therefore driver hours needed). Already doing that?

Sometimes it is just a fact that not every call can be made on a particular day. When this happens, making the best use of the shifts you have can be achieved by planning all the work nearest to depot first.

Many computerized systems work on the basis of routing the furthest call first and working back to base. TRUCKSTOPS VRS has an optional “start local mode” that will load the nearest calls first. Contact us to find out more.

Driver numbers will increase over time, but in the short term, the haulier’s only option is to make the absolute best use of every driver he has access to.