Driver Shortage Expected to Get Worse as Economy Picks Up

September 20, 2012
By Gerry McDevitt

Driver turnover rates for the second quarter were the highest they’ve been in five years, according to the American Trucking Association (ATA).

The largest carriers are currently averaging turnover rates of 106%, which means drivers are spending less than a year at one trucking company. Smaller carriers are in the same boat, reporting turnover rates of 86%—nearly double what they were just two years ago.

Some companies have tried paying higher than average wages to keep drivers, but high turnover remains a problem. Other companies have changed their business model to allow drivers to be home on weekends. This has been somewhat effective at reducing turnover rates, but at the expense of transit times and productivity.

The ATA estimates a shortage of 20-30,000 full truckload drivers. Some experts fear the number to be upwards of 100,000. As freight volumes slowly but steadily grow with the economy, this shortage is expected to get worse. Compounding the situation are the many drivers leaving the industry due to retirement and medical problems, while the younger generation pursues other careers.

A driver shortage translates into a capacity shortage. In other words, there are more full truckload shipments than there are driver/trucks to move them.

As the principals of supply and demand take hold, you can expect upward pressure on full truckload rates.

How Mohawk can help

As the economy improves, shippers can expect to pay more for truckload service. Indeed, even finding a trucker to handle the freight may be difficult.

This is where Mohawk can help. We have access to thousands of truckers from nationwide, regional, and specialized carriers. Let us relieve you of the time consuming and frustrating task of finding truckload carriers to meet your supply chain needs.

Find out what we can do for you. Contact our domestic department or your Mohawk account representative for more information.

Contact our domestic department
T: (315) 414-0453

Gerry McDevitt is Vice President, Domestic Services for Mohawk Global Logistics.