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Sector Report

Q4 2021: getting to grips with the trucking driver shortage

  • Multi Asset
  • Industrials
  • North America

The shortage of experienced US truckers is being caused by high employee turnover and retention issues, not just an ageing workforce, experts told Third Bridge Forum.

Other pressures include rapid shifts in consumer demand, amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, that have fundamentally changed the way goods are distributed. As we heard, the industry’s supply-chain is being forced to evolve from one that moves a large number of items to a small number of locations, to one that can meet the demands of explosive e-commerce growth. 

These factors, along with certain regulations introduced in recent years, have made the industry hugely inefficient, our experts said. “We’ve developed a system in trucking, particularly in port trucking and in long haul trucking, in which assets don’t get utilised at a very high rate, and neither does the labour that operates them,” a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania told us. 

The Electric Logging Device (ELD) mandate has been the biggest bone of contention. ELDs were introduced in 2017 as a safety measure to prohibit employees from driving for more than 11 hours during a 14-hour period. While ELDs were welcomed by those who believe the systems remove some of the pressure associated with driving and enable drivers to enjoy more leisure time, others condemn them. 

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