Shortage of Truck Driver Sets Records as Industry Seeks Solutions
GREENSBORO, NC - Produce needs a mode of transportation to get from the fields to retail, and unfortunately, that department is experiencing a shortage across the nation.
According to a report by WFMY, the American Trucking Association reported that a record shortage of truck drivers is sweeping through the nation. To meet industries’ demands, the trucking industry needs roughly 90,000 drivers annually, but currently has a shortage of 50,000. The Temple Daily Telegram also noted that if the shortage continues, that number could increase to 174,000 by 2026.
“Here in the Triad, we’re short probably in the percentage rate of about 10-20 percent every month,” said Karl Robinson, CEO of R&R Transportation, according to WFMY. “We have companies that have 1,000 trucks and 200 trucks are sitting so that’s a very bad problem in the Triad.”
Because of the trucking shortage, many have witnessed delayed deliveries and increased prices. But some within the trucking industry have been combatting the shortage with solutions, like choosing the best routes per trip and advocating for more truck driving schools in communities
“Over the course of the last year, the national shortage of truck drivers has put pressure on our ability to serve our customers at the highest level,” Ronald Timperio, Vice President of Operations and Supply Chain, Wilsonart, said according to the Temple Daily Telegram. “We won’t allow this pressure to negatively impact our customer satisfaction. Therefore, one of the things we are doing is using our internal fleet for sub-optimal routes to ensure we service our customers at the highest possible level.”
Mike Sakellaridis, General Manager of Renaissance Community Cooperative, added, “Sometimes with smaller companies, when you have vendors of small things, they have some struggles to get products the exact day you need it, so there might be delays for a certain small vendor. We need a truck driving school in Guilford county to train our drivers. In Davidson county they have one, and we had planned to have one in Guilford county, but it never came to fruition.”
Will more rise to the occasion and come up with solutions to solve the trucking shortage? AndNowUKnow will continue to report on this and other challenges the produce industry continues to face.