The shortage of truck drivers in North America isn't a new topic. There is a wrinkle in it that isn't as widely covered but that is crucial to the success of the United States' economy: hazmat drivers. Though they are naturally lumped in together with the general driver shortage in terms of numbers, a driver with a hazmat certification is often even more difficult to find.
Have you ever gone to the supermarket and wondered why they don’t sell half a loaf of bread? While many freeze the other half, others simply throw it away. Sounds like a waste of money right? Or when was the last time you purchased a single banana at the supermarket as opposed to a bunch, only to end up tossing them in the garbage? In fact, according to the documentary, Wasted! The Story of Food Waste, an average American family throws away nearly $1,500 of food each year!
On the heels of the leaked contents of President Trump's infrastructure plan and the increase of his funding goals as mentioned in his State of the Union address, the full reveal of the details has raised the ire of trucking and highway control groups alike. While there are several areas of contention, by far the largest one is centered on how the plan will be funded. As of this writing, President Trump noted that the federal government plans to invest just $200 billion total across all aspects of the plan -- not just those earmarked for highways. It is the president's contention that this infusion of funds will be enough to prompt another $1.3 trillion of spending at the state and local level with the goal of improving the country's entire infrastructure system.
Drivers have yet another reason to loathe detention time at docks. According to a study recently released by the Department of Transportation, which analyzed over 104,000 crashes from 2013, just a 15 minute increase in detainment at a shipper/consignee’s dock, led to a 6.2% increase in crash risk. (1) This equates to an additional 1 in 1,000 trucks having an accident and nearly 6,500 additional crashes a year. (1,2)
Fast on the heels of the new ELD regulations that went into effect in late 2017 is some good news for long-haul truck drivers. The hotly-contested ELDs made an already difficult parking problem even more challenging for truck drivers who were nearing their limit on driving hours. While the lack of safe and accessible parking is an issue that's been brewing for a number of years, the ELD regulations gave drivers fewer options, with some even having to pay to reserve parking for their rigs in order to remain compliant with these new regulations.
Just over a month since the electronic logging device mandate went into effect, replacing traditional paper logs, the effects of implementation are already being felt by shippers and carriers. We reached out to drivers nationwide, asking for their feedback on changes they have witnessed resulting from the Dec. 18th installation date and here’s what they said:
Driver Shortage: Driver capacity is at its lowest since 2005, with a ratio of one truck being available for every 12 loads so far this year, according to DAT Solutions. (1) With the ELD mandate taking effect last month, drivers retiring and the struggle to recruit the younger generation, as well as government regulations such as hours-of-service, the American Trucking Associates reported that the industry will need nearly 900,000 additional drivers to satisfy demand. (2) This capacity crunch has caused many shippers to either delay shipments or pay more to get their freight moved.
After much struggle from within Congress, President Trump's massive tax reform bill successfully passed. Though it's unclear exactly what effect the bill will have on individuals at this point, many industries are hailing the milestone legislation as a boon to the economy and their own businesses. Starting in 2018, the impact of the largest overhaul of the country's tax code in 30 years will be felt. Some highlights -- as they pertain to truckers and the trucking industry -- are noted below.
Electronic logs. Electric semis. Autonomous vehicles. As the supply chain industry moves forward, the technology we use is quickly gaining ground, making big changes in how we do business. But with 2018 knocking at the door, it's time to take a quick look back to see what the hottest trends were in 2017 for supply chain technology.