There's no doubt that trucking is a busy industry right now, but what do you make of the conflicting reports that are coming out? More shipments, fewer truckers, more trucks: it's a bit difficult to sort it all out. Here's a quick look at a couple of stats that came out recently along with our take on what's actually happening in the market.
Truck Orders Soared in July, But Where Are the Truckers?
A recent Wall Street Journal article mentioned that truck orders were soaring in July, with a record 52,400 orders for Class 8 trucks to handle regional and long-haul trucking. That’s three times the orders of trucks from this time last year (18,726) and a leap of 24% compared to June. Manufacturers are already opening reservation slots in June for 2019 to try to deal with the backlog, an unprecedented act as this process doesn't typically take place until fall. With near-record earnings, it's no wonder that trucking companies are investing back into their equipment to replace the last of the aging equipment from the recession. But is that all that this order boom represents? We don't think so.
At the same time as we're seeing record truck orders, good truck drivers are becoming harder and harder to find. The Trump administration mentioned not that long ago about the possibility of lowering the interstate driver minimum age to bring in additional drivers, specifically targeting those who had run convoy duty in the military. With half a million for-hire drivers covering America's roads, it's expected that that number will need to rise by 51,000, or over 10%, to keep America's products rolling. But where will these drivers come from? With the average driver age being 50, with only 6% of which are women, trucking companies need to create an environment that encourages younger people and women to become drivers.
Several trucking companies are raising their rates to improve pay, hoping to entice younger people away from other industries. The growth in LTL trucking, partially caused by digitization, creates an environment where it's possible for more local routes to develop, creating a better work environment for women who want to be home every evening with their kids. Repayment for truck school loans, pay increases once or twice a year, improved benefits such as 401(k) retirement, dental, vision and other benefits are becoming much more common. At Road Scholar, we're keeping pace by offering health, vision and dental insurance, modern air-ride tractors with the latest tech, guaranteed pay, a dispatch team committed to getting drivers home regularly, and many other benefits.
These market indicators are signs of a shipping industry running strong. Is your trucking company keeping up? If you're considering switching carriers, Road Scholar Transport can help. We could tell you how great we are, but we think our drivers tell it best. “The best thing about working at Road Scholar Transport is that Jimmy [President of Road Scholar] is on a first name basis with everyone. If you are looking for NE regional, it’s the best. Here the pay is great, the work is there if you want it, good equipment and good benefits.” ~Tambra Dell, Driver, Road Scholar. Why not fill out an easy online application and see where you fall today?