As 2015 dwindles to a close, 2016 is promising to be a bountiful year for truckers. Demand for truckers is skyrocketing, and the industry is primed to reap the benefits. What is causing the surge in demand, and how will the industry continue to grow in the new year? Take a look at the possibilities.
Higher Pay for Truckers
Trucker pay has been on a standstill in the years following the economic downturn, but now truck drivers are beginning to see a marked increase in their paychecks. According to the Wall Street Journal, pay for commercial truck drivers is up 17% over the past two years. Companies are offering a $5,000 signing bonuses and even equipping their trucks with flat screen TVs and other amenities to make their long-haul jobs seem more appealing. What is the reason for this sudden wallet lining? A shortage of quality truck drivers.
According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), there are currently 800,000 long-haul truckers employed across the United States. By their estimation, companies are in need of approximately 48,000 more. “Everyone is fighting over the same drivers…eventually, what has to happen is salary has to rise,” said Dan Pallme, Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute Director at the University of Memphis.
Increased Grant Money
To meet some of the demand for long-haul trucker, the U.S. Department of Transportation is offering extra grant money for training. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which operates under the DOT, has awarded $2.3 million dollars in grants to technical schools and community colleges all over the country to get students interested in truck training. The bulk of these grants will be awarded to veterans who return from active duty searching for work.
The ATA estimates that schools will need to train more than 890,000 truckers over the next 10 years. Baby boomers are reaching retirement age, which will increase the need for haulers even more in the coming decade.
Reduced Driver Turnover
The trucking industry has struggled with driver turnover rates that near 100%, according to a survey conducted by GE Capital. Driver turnover costs companies money, as it takes time and resources to train employees for long range hauls. To combat this turnover, companies are turning to technological solutions to better retain their employees. Initiatives include:
- Cloud-based invoicing. Using the cloud takes the hassle out of paperwork and allows drivers to seamlessly store and deliver invoices, proof of delivery, and bills.
- Real-time transportation technology. Using up-to-date metrics, drivers can route and seek alternate routes based on traffic patterns and construction. Metrics can be uploaded immediately via driver scanners, creating more efficient hauls and higher driver satisfaction.
Titanium, a U.S. and Canadian-based trucking company, has been using these technologies for the past few years and has seen driver turnover as low as 8%. Other companies will be following suit to attract long-term employees.
With these changes on the horizon, 2016 promises to be one of the most fruitful years in the trucking industry yet. With increased pay and demand, employees can expect to have their pick of opportunities for years to come.