How to face the driver shortage?
The driver shortage is not a pandemic exclusive situation, but we can assure that the health crisis made it worst all along 2020 and 2021. When all the mobility restrictions were established, at some point in the second quarter of 2020, there were fewer trucks and drivers on the road than before.
At the same time, local delivery started to skyrocket, due to mobility restrictions, changes in consumer habits, and that a lot of drivers preferred to work near their homes. Later on, once the quarantines were lifted, the turn came to negative Covid-19 tests to be required at the border to allow the transit, which made normality come back a lot slower than we all expected it to be.
What are the reasons for this driver shortage?
In order to think in the possible solutions to this problem, we need to analyze and understand its causes:
1. Workforce age. Most of the freight drivers in North America have more than 40 years old and among them, the number of drivers that are about to be retired grows with every day that passes by.
2. Young people are not interested in being a driver. The work expectations of new generations do not include freight transportation, since they have more chances to obtain a college degree, which makes them pursue an office position.
3. Lack of diversity between the drivers. Until a few years ago, most of the drivers were men, and the presence of minorities in the workforce was reduced to almost none.
4. Every country reality. Lack of competencies, dangerous roads, and poor work conditions are only a few of the elements that make it difficult to attract drivers. especially in Mexico, or avoid for them to restrained their lanes inside the U.S. and Canada. However, other countries still have a driver shortage, a deficit that can not be solved by hiring mexicans.
5. Job requirements. Competencies and certifications that are preferred in a diver’s license have become harder to gain. However, the driver’s group who have achieved them is reduced.
What can we expect?
We can all know that the rates are high in the current conditions, but they will probably increase even more since driver shortage can grow up to 25% by the end of 2021 in the U.S. and Canada, and up to 175% in Mexico.
Also, the freight imbalance throughout North America will be the same as long as the road situation in Mexico does not change.
How to face the driver shortage?
The first step is to consider the drivers as professional workers, instead of operators. They need to be aware of their impact on the supply chain and in the business performance.
All actions must be planned around improving the recruitment processes and training, but keeping in mind that new generations are not interested only in their salary but in better work conditions, safety, acknowledgment, technology and a good work environment.
We must consider the role of new technologies in the relationship between drivers, 3PLs, and clients. It will be easier to keep a log and to keep an eye on the drivers and load security all along the lane.
It is true that we can see a small improvement in the pandemic effects since the vaccine is available in some regions of North America, however, it is not enough to attract new drivers and call back the ones that migrated to the last mile business. Now, it is time to be creative and develop new work programs in the freight transportation business that can be seen as appealing to young people and women.
CUSTOM-MADE SOLUTIONS WITH MEXICOM LOGISTICS AND MEXICOM USA
Amongst the logistic services provided by Mexicom USA, you can also find bulk transshipment, palletized and with clamps, which are dedicated to electrical appliances, paper rolls, and big and fragile loads, such as fiberglass.
In case you need a quote for freight transportation, warehousing, or local movements in Laredo, get in touch with us, and we will design a custom-made solution for you.