The trucking industry is facing a multitude of challenges, from maintaining equipment and sourcing equipment due to production delays and supply chain disruptions, to financial difficulties due to rising operating costs and declining shipping rates. Hiring and retaining drivers is also a major issue, as is complying with new or changing regulations. The American Institute for Transportation Research (ATRI) recently published a report based on a survey of over 3,000 professional carriers and drivers across the country, which listed the following 10 critical issues currently affecting the trucking industry:Driver Shortage - For six straight years, the shortage of drivers has been at the top of the list of concerns. The US economy has been shaken by COVID-19, causing transport companies to suffer a record deficit of 80,000 drivers.
To keep up with the growing demand for cargo across the country over the next decade, transportation companies must hire 1 million young drivers, according to ATA chief economist Bob Costello. However, some experts point out that younger generations are not replacing drivers who retire as quickly as needed.
Insurance Costs- ATRI found that insurance costs per mile increased by 18.3% over the past five years, affecting many smaller fleets and causing many more to fail.
Regulations- The FMCSA has made some efforts to restrict the number of hours that truck drivers can spend behind the wheel and require a mandatory rest during the trip if a minimum of 8 hours have not elapsed since the driver's last trip.
Truck Parking- A plurality of respondents (39.5%) believe that identifying strategic locations to expand truck parking capacity is the best approach to address the widespread shortage of truck parking. Initiatives such as the Atlanta Regional Truck Parking Assessment Study allow states and regions to allocate investment to strategic locations.
Retention & Compensation- Year after year, employee retention and compensation remain major challenges for trucking companies. Trucking companies simply don't have enough drivers, or their drivers aren't available enough to cover all the gaps in their schedules.
Increased compensation is one possible remedy for this challenge.