For over 25 years, reports on the shortage of truck drivers all over the world have plagued the media as evidenced by the continuous cries and struggles of trucking industries for more truck drivers. A highlight on the truck driver shortage has been reported in 2009, which has continued to rise in 2013. Numerous solutions were put in effect but still to no avail. This shortage has been most evident not only in the United States but also others countries like Canada, Australia, Europe Union, and Japan.
US Trucking Industry
The Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that about 40,000 workers were employed in the last 12 months but it also estimates that the U.S. will be in need of 330,000 more truck drivers in 2020. Since the economic recession in 2008 to 2009, the need for truck drivers has continued to rise. According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), the second quarter of 2011 has recorded a rise of 79% turnover rate following an increase of demand for more truck drivers in the following third quarter. In Tennessee, for example, news broke saying one company loses 100 truck drivers every week. Needless to say, despite the increase in demand for truck drivers, there also exist a number of truck driver positions being vacated at an escalating figure.
Canadian Trucking Industry
On the other hand, Canada is now facing an even problematic stage of truck driver shortage in history reporting a need of 25,000 to 30,000. It sits rows of trucks in a parking lot behind Ottawa’s Trucking School leaving it perfectly aligned and for the main time rusting. These rows of trucks are all ready to hit the highways only if, there are truck drivers signing in for the vacant positions. Other Canadian trucking industry like, Minimax Express, had a meeting with Liberal leader Premier Kathleen Wynne in August this year for a hopeful solution. Yves Poirier, head of Minimax Express, asked the liberal leader to partner with his company in recruiting fresh graduates. “They need more young drivers”, agreed Wynne emphasizing however, the need for sufficient training for these young drivers who will fill in the positions. In relation to this, earlier in 2008, Wynne issued $63 million including $150,000 from the Eastern Ontario Development Fund that aided the creation of 12 new jobs. Now, Minimax Express has 80 truckers and 140 trailers with 150 workers. The trucking company is said to be catering not only to small retailer stores but also to Metro and Walmart.
Australian Trucking Industry
Surprisingly in 2008, Australian trucking industries like, Victorian Transport Association and Linfox, encouraged women to take truck driving jobs to meet the imminent shortage of truck drivers. Despite people’s notion with regard women drivers, one of those encouraged was Miss Woods. She said that all her life she had always wanted to be a truck driver. “Being a girl held me back but I decided I was going to follow in Dad’s footsteps. I love just getting given my work of a morning, jump in the truck and I go and do my work.” She also emphasized that being a truck driver gives her a lot of freedom. Finally, she said, “…That was my dream and I’m finally living it.” Victorian Transport Association and Linfox continuously employ more and more female truck drivers up to this date. Still, Australia is yet to uncover other measures to solve the problem or at least lessen the large figure of shortage for truck drivers.
European Trucking Industry
Despite the rising unemployment rate in Europe, trucking companies posted a need for long-haul truck drivers as posted online, “Wanted: Long-Haul Truck Drivers (in Europe).” With a hope to meet the demand on the shortage of truck drivers, Europe truck makers designed comfortable and unveiling new models hoping to attract potential drivers. As stressed by Roman Mathyssek, IHS Automotive executive, “The times when haulers opted for trucks with only basic features are over…Safety systems and comfort are getting increasingly important, particularly for long-distance haulages.” But with the uprising concern of shortage, the new design of trucks came as not a big hit after all.
In Germany alone, 250,000 truck drivers are expected to retire in 10 to 15 years. Specifically, 40% or 150,000 truck drivers will retire in a decade according to Dekta, an auto parts company. “There is a serious driver shortage in Germany,” said Gerard van Kesteren, chief financial officer of Kuehne & Nagel International. The chief financial officer sees this shortage as a big contributory factor to more financial crisis since Kuehne & Nagel International operates 10,000 trucks and trailers including BMW and Airbus as clients. “It means we have to pay somewhat more to get drivers. And because the margins are so thin, we have to pass this additional cost on to clients,” Kesteren said. However, in spite of crisis in Germany, there appears to be a different policy that trucking industries follow as compared to the United States and Canada. Truck drivers are mandated to drive for 48 hours a week only but many go for as many as 60 hours a week dodging the regulatory mandated rest periods.
Japanese Trucking Industry
The same sentiment on the shortage of truck drivers is shared by Japan. There is evident shortage particularly on the carrier industry. The advancement in technology, however, seemed to have eased up the crisis a bit. The highly technological country has developed a plan on meeting the need for more truck drivers known as the Japan Caravan Program. This is a research program used for years already by the country but are still researching on its applicability with trucks. The news has it that Japan maneuvers driverless cars. In other words, they are on their way to using driverless trucks, which will be closely monitored. In addition, these driverless carrier trucks are programmed to work together to save fuel. Furthermore, The driverless trucks research has yet to be finalized to prove the reduction of fuel consumption but SARTRE has already came up with consistent fuel savings, said Baker. Finally, the advance technology spokesperson of General Motors, Dan Flores, said, “In the future, cars will be driving themselves through all sorts of environment, but that is quite a ways off.”