Drivers are the backbone of the logistics Industry and are responsible for the safe delivery of goods from one place to another. However not many people are attracted to the job role of being a professional driver and there are many reasons why. According to the IRU report Driver shortage threatens the functioning of road transport, supply chains, trade, the economy, and ultimately employment and citizens’ welfare. These are issues that need immediate attention. Hiring good employees is difficult in almost any industry, but the trucking industry has its own unique, complicated hurdles that make it especially challenging to get the right people for the job and keep them on the payroll. As per industry reports truck driver positions are expected to be one of the top 10 most difficult jobs to fill.
In 2005, it was first reported that the trucking industry faced a shortage of around 20,000 drivers however over the years, the shortage grew. According to the latest data from the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the industry was short 60,800 drivers as of late 2018 and if nothing was done , that shortage could increase to more than 160,000 drivers nationally by 2028. In India there are 2 million truck drivers, yet 25% – 30% of the trucks lie idle due to shortage of truck drivers . As a result of the pandemic, the trucking industry faced a severe crisis due to a lack of demand for drivers. However, with the rise in ecommerce, increasing expenditure in infrastructure , the freight volumes are almost back to pre-pandemic levels, and the driver shortage problem is back again and growing worse.
What are the Reasons for shortage?
Among developed nations, it is usually due to the lack of participation from the younger crowds, that many issues arise. A few popular factors are :
The job of a truck driver is definitely challenging due to several factors like congested roads, heavy traffic, and unfamiliar terrains among others. And while the trucking industry has seen numerous advancements over the years, few have been aimed at making the truckers’ jobs easier. The percentage of truck drivers under 25 fell nearly everywhere in 2020, from already low levels down to 5% in Europe and Russia, 6% in Mexico and 7% in Turkey Hence logistics companies around the world are finding it difficult to hire and retain the drivers .
Some companies hire truckers on salary , but other companies keep them as independent contractors who get paid by the load, which means to earn anything, drivers first have to get their own trucks and acquire the skills and certifications. In the latter case the logistics companies do take responsibility of training their drivers regularly as they are not on their payroll .In either ways, companies must remember that the drivers are carrying loads worth millions that belongs to the logistics companies and if they meet with an accident , it is the loss for the company
Finding solutions to driver shortage
There is no easy answer to finding a solution or a perfect answer to how driver shortage can be reduced but there are some solutions adopted by organisations , governments and institutes around the world that are surely working towards it.
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