Driver Shortage Continues to Loom

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By Matt Dickerson
Senior Vice President
JLL Indianapolis

The ongoing driver shortage remains a looming threat to the national supply chain. In the aftermath of the much published West Coast Port work stoppage (http://www.dcvelocity.com/articles/20150413-transportation-logistics-leaders-to-brainstorm-ideas-to-clear-congested-ports/) the nations shipping lines are still dealing with a growing driver shortage. The ongoing driver shortage can be measured by updated data on driver turnover rates at firms large and small.  To combat the driver shortage, several large fleet operators are establishing onsite training centers to recruit and train new drivers.

The best indicator of the health of the nation’s driver fleet is the annual turnover rate.  Several large fleets have increased their per mile pay rate in the last two years to recruit and retain employees. The pay increase and recruitment has come at the expense of smaller operators which have yet to increase pay. As a result the turnover rate remains high across the board as the labor pool shifts.  Read more at (http://www.americanshipper.com/Main/ASD/ATA_Truckload_driver_turnover_remains_high_in_Q4_59871.aspx). Driver turnover rates continue to exceed 95% in large fleet operators with and estimated driver shortage at 35,000 drivers.

The effects of the driver shortage will translate into increased freight costs as operators compete for employees. The need to train new drivers entering the fleet will also increase freight costs across the country. The increased freight costs will ultimately land in the lap of the consumers with higher prices on goods large and small.

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