America’s trucking shortage is nearing an all-time pinnacle, and no matter the media and social media attention it has received, conditions do not appear to be improving. According to Joc.com, the industry today is short about 50,000 drivers to meet the average, sustainable demand of the current market. If trends continue, the site estimates the shortage will reach approximately 176,000 by 2026.
On top of an already tight driver shortage, the upcoming ELD Mandate (link to another blog) only looks to make things worse. Of an approximate 3.5 million total freight trucks on the road today, an estimated one million have not purchased an ELD to comply with regulations coming into effect this January. Chris Spear, leader of the American Trucking Association says the industry is working hard to attract new drivers, saying, “Identifying the right mix of partners and strategies to effectively address the drive shortage is one of our top goals for the industry.”
Regardless of a company’s feelings towards the ELD mandate, Chris Spear of the ATA says it is time to accept it and move on. “This issue has been legislated, promulgated and litigated. And it is now time to move forward.” He said, via ttnews.com. The ELD mandate has support across multiple organizations, including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), elected officials on Capitol Hill and the Trump administration.
The industry is doing everything they can to make the transition as seamless as possible. A grace period has been introduced through next April where drivers will only be assessed a fine for not being ELD compliant, and an option to use an Automatic On-Board Recording Device (AOBRDS), an automatic logging system, as an acceptable bridge for an ELD device until December 2019.
No matter how lenient the industry tries to be, Fred Fakkema, VP of compliance for Zonar systems estimates as many as 16% of today’s truckers will walk away from trucking when ELDs become mandatory. This is in part due to the high average age of truckers, who likely are set in their ways and will not adapt to the new ELD system.
The Logistix Company recommends an average lead time of 5-7 days to efficiently book trucks, depending on the region, product and lane, but with the continued market tightness, that number may not be foolproof. To learn more about the current market issues, or get a quote from our office, contact us today.