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Truck driver shortage expected to continue

Truck driver shortage expected to continue


Ground trucking is an essential function in our society today. Our nation’s economy relies upon the ability to move large quantities of products efficiently and affordably. Trucking is a primary means of doing this. New information published in early October by the American Trucking Association suggests that the transportation industry is facing a serious shortage of drivers that could only worsen in the coming years as the demand for truck freight increases at the same time.

Experts from within the ATA were cited in a panel discussion at a recent ATA Management Conference and Exhibition. The panel focused in part on the predicted increase in freight between now and the year 2025 and the corresponding number of available drivers. Freight needs are tied to overall economic growth. The latter is projected to rise steadily over several years, bringing an increased need for freight along with it.

Already in 2014 turnover rates in truck drivers are noted. This statistic is considered to be one of the primary factors used to calculate driver shortages or surpluses. For fleets that generate less than $30 million in annual revenue, turnover rates among drivers have jumped 16% this year. For all fleets, a climb of 11% in turnover rates has been recorded.

Looking ahead, the Commercial Carrier Journal considers the broader picture of greater need for transporting freight in the next 11 years. Some specific forecasted statistics include:

  • The volume of truckload tonnage is expected to grow by as much as 3.5% every year until 2019.
  • Between 2020 and 2025, truckload volume will continue to rise by 1.2% each year.
  • Trucking’s share of the total freight transportation market was just over 69% in 2013.
  • By 2025, trucking will dominate more than 74% of the total freight transportation market.
  • In 2013, 14.01 billion tons of freight was transported domestically, a number that is expected to be 17.3 billion by 2025.

With all transportation methods together, freight tonnage in the U.S. is projected to increase by 23.5% by 2025. Associated revenue projections include 72% growth.

Industry experts have suggested that logistic experts will see special opportunities but that does not negate the growth options across the industry as a whole. If declining truck driver numbers continue to be noted, trucking companies will need to work hard to recruit and retain good drivers in order to be able to capitalize fully on the growth in need for freight.

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