Every day we are all touched by the supply chain. Many of our products come from somewhere else. No matter how they get to the final stop, that last stop is loaded onto a truck, and that is where the problems lie.
We can go back in history where lobbyists, and big money, ensured that cars and trucks, not trains, would get us and products from point A to point B. Time has shown that it hasn’t been good for the environment and has been positive for car, truck, and gas companies. It is changing with electric vehicles, but mostly the issue is nobody wants to drive a truck.
The average age of a truck driver is 55 years old, making roughly $60k a year and always on the road. Many retired during Covid. The turnover rate in truck drivers is 90%. Currently, between the US and Canada, there is a shortage of 80,000 drivers. The pay and the hours are brutal. Most important, they are not attracting a new generation to drivers. This is happening in the school bus community as well.
Just like many industries are experiencing right now, it is a labor problem. On the one hand, you would have thought we would have seen this coming, particularly as the age range continued to grow older. On the other hand, COVID amplified the problem.
What is the answer? Transportation needs to change. Trains need to connect to ports of entry, taking goods to their almost final stop. There will always be a need for trucks to bring products directly to the stores or possibly the consumer, but how many will we need, and can we program trucks to make those deliveries without human beings?
I don’t know the answer, but I know that this is a problem that is not going away but only getting worse.