TCP national survey shows driver issues continue for carriers
Jan 18, 2012 2:04 PM
The recent 4th quarter 2011 Business Expectations Survey by Transport Capital Partners (TCP) clearly shows that the trucking industry is still experiencing a driver shortage, but there has been slight improvement since August 2011 with 70% of the carriers experiencing unseated trucks.
The number reporting unseated trucks in the 6-10% category rose from 10% to 18%, while the number reporting more than 10% unseated decreased from 8% to less than 1%.
“Carriers are aggressively recruiting and are opening more training slots, while the lack of extension of unemployment benefits is potentially encouraging people to seek jobs and training,” says Richard Mikes, TCP partner and study leader.
A larger number of small carriers (under $25 million in revenue) than large carriers reported zero unseated trucks (33% vs 28%).
“An anomaly still exists with the 8.5% unemployment rate which has particularly impacted the construction industry, a historical driver source, but drivers are still scarce,” notes Lana Batts, TCP partner.
There has been a significant shift in the wage expectation of what the annual wage must be to attract and retain drivers since May. Sixty-five percent of carriers now believe that wages must be more than $60,000, up from 49% in May.
“With a slightly improving GDP (gross domestic product), it is clear that we have a capacity crunch on trucks and drivers,” Mikes says.
Adds Batts: “Shippers and brokers are reporting that trucks have been harder to secure. And while rates have risen, carriers still tell us that ROI (return on investment) is not adequate nor keeping pace with costs.”
Mikes and Batts note that the stronger than expected end to 2011 brings ongoing challenges in 2012 to keep up and secure adequate rates to cover costs, with balance being the keyword for 2012: balancing trucks with loads, balancing rates with costs, balancing the scarce supply of drivers to man the trucks, and balancing the replacement of an aging fleet with adequate returns on newer more expensive trucks.
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