According to new research, trucking companies are short roughly 60,000 drivers, with the figure expected to grow steadily through the 2020s

As the tech industry continues to focus on how automation could potentially upend the trucking industry and the role of truckers in our supply chain, we’re actually looking at a different type of seismic shift occurring in labour patterns – the number of truck drivers, especially new truck drivers, is steadily declining, and will deeply affect the flow of goods throughout North America.

Via USA Today and the American Trucking Association, current policies regulating trucking and the trucking industry are making it less attractive to become a trucker, with Chief Economist Bob Costello warning the driver shortages could near six-figure numbers by 2024 – less than five years in the future.

How will this disrupt supply chains?

The reverberations from this shortage will ripple through every level of the logistics ladder, from manufacturers all the way to the end customer. Not only will transportation costs rise, the shortage could make out of stock items increasingly common and increase the frequency of backordered products.

This becomes especially damaging for the transportation of perishable goods, where it may become unprofitable to stock certain kinds of produce or fresh food. Other industry experts warn that this shortage will likely damage small businesses first, as major logistics service providers (LSPs) focus on retaining major customers with discounted rates and pushing initial costs towards less negotiable smaller customers.

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