American veterans are saving the trucking industry

How Veterans are Saving the Industry

How Veterans are Saving the Industry

Each Veterans’ Day Americans take time to reflect and honor all of those who served their country. What many fail to realize, however, is that thousands of veterans continue to serve their country in a different way after coming home. A growing number of military veterans have decided to hit the road as motor carriers to do what they do best- keep America running smoothly.

Why Veterans Make Great Truck Drivers

As of 2013, there were 22,000 active-duty truck drivers and 10,000 who had recently separated from the military.

As Bill McLennan, CEO of FASTPORT told FleetOwner.com, “There’s a lot of similarities between what [servicemen and women] do in the military and what the trucking industry does, and that’s regardless of what their military occupation or specialty is.”

He’s right- to work as a truck driver requires extensive training and discipline, leadership and independence, all of which are skills inset by the military. On top of that, many veterans worked in similar positions while on active-duty, and already have the skills and knowledge needed to safely and efficiently operate a truck.

Why the Industry Needs Veterans, and Vice Versa

It’s no new news that there’s a driver shortage in the industry. The American Trucking Associations predicts that we will need 175,000 new drivers by 2024 to avoid chaos. It’s also not news that there is a huge number of unemployed veterans in the United States. In 2014, the veteran unemployment rate dropped to 5.3%, however, that still left 573,000 veterans without a job. To combat both issues, the government has started giving colleges and schools federal grants, specifically to pay the tuition of veterans who wish to become truck drivers. In addition, most states now offer skill test waivers to veterans who have two years of safe driving experience while on active-duty.

Veterans and the Trucking Industry 

Veterans and the trucking industry have a mutually beneficial relationship, anyone can see that. Hopefully in the upcoming years more veterans will learn about the opportunities being a truck driver presents, and we can begin to reduce the number of unemployed veterans in the United States. For those who are veteran motor carriers, Loadsmart thanks you for your service on both fields.

The driver shortage, autonomous trucks and other things that could mean big changes in the trucking industry.

5 Things That Could Mean Big Changes for the Trucking Industry

There are dozens of impending changes in the trucking industry. With new legislation passing monthly, upgrades in technology happening weekly and concerns being addressed daily, it seems that the only constant in this industry is change. So what are some of the biggest things on the horizon?

Driver Shortages

This is by no means a new problem, but it is a problem that’s creating huge changes in the trucking industry. With an estimated 890,000 drivers needed in the next decade and high turnover rates across the board, the industry is struggling to find a solution. When paired with the fact that freight volume is forecasted to increase 29% in the next 11 years, these statistics get downright scary. People are calling for collaboration among fleets, offering more benefits to drivers, mass recruiting and even working on passing legislation that allows drivers as young as 18 to carry freight across state lines. While there may not be any one solution, the one thing we do know is that change is coming.

Long-Term Highway Bill

The Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 (STRRA). Have you heard of it? Maybe you don’t know it by title, but you have definitely heard about how it’s causing changes in the trucking industry. The most noted reform in this bill is a measure that allows states to create “compacts” that lower the minimum age to cross state lines from 21 to either 18 or 19 (depending on the version) to help alleviate driver shortages. While the Internet is abuzz with the potential minimum age reduction, the STRRA is first and foremost a 6-year plan to spend $325 billion on improving national infrastructure, and hopefully combatting congestion problems. At the same time, this bill has language that would allow for the nationwide operation of twin 33-foot trailers and for states to be able to change the maximum weight limit to 91,000 pounds, both of which have raised safety concerns with the Trucking Safety Coalition.

Autonomous Trucks

As technology revolutionizes the trucking industry, many look to autonomous trucks to combat the impending driver shortages. Will these self-driving trucks soon cause major changes in the trucking industry? Sort of. Most “autonomous trucks” are actually only level 3 autonomous, meaning that drivers can cede safety-critical functions under certain conditions, but are able to take back full control at anytime. While companies such as Freightliner say they have no intention of creating a level 4, fully autonomous truck, research from Frost & Sullivan predicts that as many as 182,000 level 3 trucks could be on the roads by 2035. The report goes on to say that the factors that affect the popularity of autonomous trucks include cost, social acceptance, legislation and the maturity of the technology.

Capacity Problems

This problem is the offspring of driver shortages and the recovering economy. On one hand, fleet owners have been seeing an increase in demand over the past couple of years that have many companies operating around  95% capacity. While this seems like a great change in pace for the industry, the reality is that it limits growth. For the companies that are operating at a high-capacity, the ongoing driver shortages and the inevitable worsening the shortage discourage fleet growth. The Wall Street Journal reports that others, such as Aaron Tennant, president of an Illinois-based company,  Tennant Truck Lines Inc., have percentages of their fleet sitting vacant, costing tens of thousands of dollars a month.

Fuel Prices Giving Trucking Companies Leeway To Raise Rates

As shippers save a lot of money in diesel, trucking companies are feeling more confident in raising their rates. According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), for each cent that the fuel prices drop the industry as a whole saves $350 million. And trucking companies aren’t being greedy, with their rising expenses which include demanding increase in driver wages, health care and mandates limiting driving time the freight rates will eventually need to go up anyways.


STL Today>>

 

Problem Replacing Our Aging Workforce, the Avg Age of a Trucker Has Risen

ATRI Data does not lie and it looks like the youths are not very interested in entering the trucking industry. In 2013 the average age of a truck driver was 46.5 and 52 in the private sector. A theory as to why 20-24 year olds comprise only 4.9% of the trucking industry is the CDL age minimum of 21, which leave a three year gap after high school for potential drivers to discover other careers. There are also certain sectors in the trucking industry that have a 25 age minimum which leave an even larger gap.

Percentage of Drivers in the Trucking Industry By Age

Truckers between 25-34 years old has gone down from 30.4% to 15.6% in 20 years.

Truckers between 55-64 years old has gone up from 9.1% to 20.1% in the last 20 years.


HDT>>

m-driver-age-graph-1

Graph By ATRI

 

ATA Starts Working With Hire Our Heroes to Hire 100,000 Veterans

The U.S Chamber of Congress launched Hiring Our Heroes in March 2011 and has recruited 1,700 companies to commit to hiring about 585,000 veterans with 369,000 veterans already hired, however the current goal is to get 500,000 veterans hired, fortunately the American Trucking Association has committed to hiring 100,000 veterans. With the driver shortage this is a win-win for both sides. They are using FASTPORT’s trucking track system to match veteran with fleets with open positions. TroopstoTruckers.com is another great programs trying to get our veterans into the driver seat. Check it out.

Troops2Truckers.NET-Military-CDL-Program

Shippers Starting to Accept Higher Truck Rates

The annual shipper- carrier rate discussion has ended and it has gone very differently then last years. Although it was a bit more convoluted with rising carrier costs, the shippers have finally, yet arduously, accepted these rates. The price of shipping has gone up, one reason being driver shortage/retention rates which has finally led to raising drivers pay (which LoadSmart discussed in the following article). The rise in drivers pay has been taken into account by motor carriers who have altered their rates to make this change less impactful on themselves and putting it on shippers.

Motor Carrier Advice

Motor Carriers are concerned about alienating their big shippers and are strategically raising their rates.The new motor carrier strategy is “lower frequency of accepting shippers initial rates” Those acceptance rates are currently 90% carrier acceptance rates which are expected to drop to 85% in 2015. Motor Carriers are now saying no to shipping a load at 1.30 cents per mile when they can now get 1.75 cents a mile.

Shippers Who Should Worry?

Most affected area are spot rates.

If you are a larger shipper if it will be easier to negotiate prices but the worries are on small shippers who will most likely be taken advantage of.

For more information go to DC Velocity>>

Companies Raising Wages as Driver Shortage Worsens

The driver shortage has gotten worse with the shortage averaging out to over 214,000 truck drivers. With long haul making up 38% of the $840 billion of the U.S Frieght Market, drivers are crucial. The turnover rate of a truck driver is high for multiple reasons but a fundamental issue is the pay. With trucking companies like Xpress turning down 5,000 to 8,000 orders a week from lack of truck drivers, they finally figured out supply and demand and have raised their driver wages. A truck driver of theirs, who had worked for 17 years is finally getting a raise, planning to make over $60,000 when he would have prior to the raise made $48,000-$55,000. Xpress is not the only trucking company raising driver wages, others include Con-way (who had said they’d be the only ones to raise their wages *cough cough wrong), Celadon group and more. America’s Commercial Transportation Research Co expects a 6% increase in average driver wages this year. For more info go to IBJ>>

Driver accuses trucking company of falsifying logs. It’s a bigger issue…

LoadSmart knows the reality of the trucking industry and falsifying logs. Although it is currently the reality it is not right to the driver. It needs to evolve or hours of service will continue to correlate with another huge issue which is driver shortage. We need to fix the trucking industries model. For more information on the drivers accusation of a topic that we know is all over the trucking industry, falsifying logs go to NBC>>