As many people in the supply chain and logistics field have heard over the past few years there is an ongoing issue and growing crisis with available US trucks, equipment and drivers throughout the United States. This is due to a number of factors: driver shortage, Hours of Service changes, produce season that minimizes the driver and equipment for non-produce growing areas of the country and other commodities. Recent numbers have estimated the trucking industry is experiencing a shortfall of 30,000 drivers, with projections estimating the need for truck drivers will increase by 330,000 more jobs by 2020.
The steady stream of domestic trucking requests results in a high demand for trucks and not enough supply. Also, the increased cost to maintain trucks, the requirements mandating compliance with new regulations in the trucking industry compounded with an extremely low supply of drivers, with no heavy influx of new, qualified drivers to fill the gap is forcing the standard market domestic trucking rates up dramatically.
All of these factors have contributed to the situation, but the fact remains the fewer options that are available to actually move freight throughout the United States the higher the cost.
FEWER OPTIONS = HIGHER COSTS
If a carrier is offered a fair rate to continuously move freight on his trucks in a repetitive, steady lane he will often take that option over a competing sporadic offer where he will lose money and future business is not guaranteed for him or the driver.
Things that industry can do to minimize the impact:
Use reliable carriers that meet the pick-up location’s loading schedules and delivery location’s delivery schedules.
Plan and communicate in advance – do not allow a carrier to arrive without the freight being ready to load. Everyone loses money on “Dry-runs”
Be sure that the rate paid for the movement and the timing (pick up and delivery) meets everyone’s expectations (including the driver).
Widen the routing and carrier options with Intermodal, dedicated trucks, advanced lead time considerations are all viable options.
Be carrier friendly – load or unload as quickly and safely as possible. Avoid strict appointments for pick up and for delivery, waiting time is lost productivity, time is money.