Driver Shortage Driving Higher Transport Costs – How To Respond

ATRI’s 2014 report on critical industry issues confirmed what many of us have known for a while: the driver shortage is a pressing concern in the transportation industry. With current ATA estimates suggesting that we’ll face a shortfall of 240,000 drivers by 2022 (in terms of supply and demand) if the situation is not reversed, and current driver-turnover rates at around 90 percent, the need to retain experienced drivers and to attract new ones remains a high priority.

This nevertheless poses a difficult problem for trucking companies: how do we retain and attract skilled drivers while also meeting our customers’ needs for competitive freight prices? How can we best address the needs of both our drivers and our customers?

While Wadhams Enterprises has a higher driver retention rate than the industry average, retaining great drivers remains high priority.

Support Truck Drivers With Fair Wages & Incentives

In order to work efficiently and well, companies need to support the men and women who work hard to keep business moving. That means providing fair wages, benefits, incentives and resources to recognize hardworking employees and their families.

Foster Positive Work Relationships

It also means providing a healthy and supportive work environment—including positive relationships with other drivers, trainers, dispatchers and managers, as well as effective training—so that our drivers can perform at their best every day.

Retain Good Drivers

Demand for ground transportation (and thus truck drivers) remains high, and in order to keep up with the pace of that growing demand, hauling companies need to be able to support and retain skilled drivers. Failure to do so could mean a choice, for transport customers, between higher costs and the inability to ship freight when they need to.

Practical Response: Wadhams ARG Division Restructures Driver Rates

Wadhams seeks to attract and retain quality drivers. After analysis of driver preferences, we’ve made a rate structure change for our ARG drivers so that they receive an hourly work rate, with excellent benefits and overtime compensation. This was changed in response to driver feedback about their preferences. We look forward to hiring committed and reliable gas and light oil drivers in the near future.

Proving That Trucking Is A Great Career

It’s clear that the benefits to truck drivers are extremely worthwhile, and in the bigger picture, fostering positive work environments that support strong families, nurture good relationships, and promote a strong and healthy work-life balance may just be what the trucking industry needs to show current and prospective employees that trucking is a good place to work.

The result of these recent changes, in other words, could well be more positive trends in the labor department—exactly what we need to attract and retain more great drivers, and to show that trucking is a strong industry and great career choice. In that sense, long-term reliable transport is worth the investment.

Rick Wadhams

Rick Wadhams

As co-owner of Wadhams Enterprises, Rick has spent his life and career in the freight business, with experience in everything from maintenance to driving to management. Rick takes particular responsibility in overseeing the petroleum and milk divisions of Wadhams. His committment to seamless process, teamwork, integrity and support, coupled with the fabulous family atmosphere at Wadhams has helped grow Wadhams' reputation as the "Carrier of Choice, Employer of Choice."