Not only is America dealing with a supply chain crisis but a trucker shortage. Experts say there is a lack of truckers on the road getting things where they need to be.
Many truckers say that the jobs don’t pay enough., But there is more to it. When truckers have to wait hours for their loads, it costs them money. Because there aren’t enough people at warehouses and ports, they have to sit and wait.
That costs them money they cannot afford to lose.
There are hundreds of thousands of truckers in Florida, and even that isn’t enough. The need is so great that companies are now offering $15,000 bonuses to drivers that already have their commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Cleveland Brogen has been driving a truck for more than 10 years. He’s witnessed the changes in the industry. “Back then, you would be able to drive, pull over and sleep. Now, you have 10 hours. You have to wait, and you’re not making any money because you have to sit on the load. Then, when you go to get off on the road, they’re short-staffed at some of the ports, the warehouses that you go load,” Brogen said.
Plus, there are rising fuel prices that drivers have to worry about. “They don’t have fuel surplus anymore, and they’re putting on the load, but it’s not covering it,” said Brogen.
Those added costs are being passed on to consumers. Alix Miller is the president and CEO of the Florida Trucking Association. “It’s called a supply chain because of the links. So when one is strained or weakened, it affects the rest of the supply chain,” said Miller.
“It affects you all by price. It goes down from us, it goes down from the materials, to bringing it in and then fuel with those prices. The consumers are paying all of that,” Brogen said.
Those long hours on the road and away from their families add up. So, this is yet another reason the truckers are parking their rigs. And it isn’t easy to find replacements.
The 80,000 driver-shortfall is expected to get worse. “We definitely need to see more people in the field, more in the pipeline out of high school, younger generations getting into the field to bolster our numbers,” Miller said.
For Miller, getting people back on the road is a priority. “I think it’s important for everybody to advocate and recognize how important and essential the driving industry is and particularly how important these drivers are,” she said.
Brogen has a few ideas on how to fix the shortage. “Three things. Fuel, cost, insurance cost, and we like to see them do something with the sitting 10 hours on a load,” said Brogen.
Miller also told WINK News that it’s about finding the right place and the right truck to drive. “We know of many companies that are paying $10,000 to $15,000 signing bonuses, so depends on what you’re hauling and how far you’re hauling it and which company you work for,” said Miller.