Before the COVID-19 Pandemic, many companies were faced with a shortage of CDL drivers. With layoffs and unemployment at a record high, it is logical to think that there would be a lot more people stepping in to fill the truck driver shortage. However, going into 2021 that is not the case and the industry is still hurting for drivers.
The driver shortage problem is not only seen here in America but also around the globe. Steve Doughty who runs a yard that delivers aggregate to housing developments in Auckland, New Zealand has witnessed the effects of the shortage firsthand. “The shortage for us means assets parked up that we’re not getting a return on,” says Doughty who is three drivers short on his busiest period. A similar story is told by Deborah O’Brian owner of Debz Transport, who is experiencing the same scenario with a company that moves freight that arrives from overseas into Port Wellington, New Zealand. She explained that “Most people don’t see the industry as a career, but it offers many opportunities for a career.” She also explained how the industry has gotten worse over the past 3 years.
630 trucking companies took a survey in March of 2020, and 80% of those companies concluded that the driver shortage is very serious. One out of four of these companies had trucks that were not getting used because the shortage had affected them firsthand. New Zealand Road Transport Forum is launching a trainee program to get more people behind the wheel. CEO Nick Liggett stated, “Ninety-six percent of truck drivers are men, so we have to do more to attract younger people and women to the industry”. Will we see more people step into the driver’s seat in 2021?