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The number of supply chain truck drivers world-wide has been decreasing for the last 15 years. It is estimated that in the next 15 years in North America, there will have to be 15 million drivers hired for both short-haul and long-haul driving to fill this gap in the logistics services.

The part of a longer problem that this creates for port drayage services which use short distance door-to-door drivers is critical to the price of moving goods, and the term drayage is used to describe the ability to move cargo in a time efficient manner.

The reasons for the driver shortage are similar for both short-haul and long-haul drivers, and the solutions to this intermodal drayage situation are also similar. However, the fact that the shortage has evolved over such a long time indicates that the role of the truck driver, and the truck driver’s job and related compensation, is changing.

The way to avoid having a shortage of drivers for port drayage services is to be ready to change the way drivers are treated and to evaluate aspects of the drayage system.

What are Drivers Looking For?

The shortage of drivers for short-haul jobs is not all due to the conditions that drivers work under. Initially the shortage began to increase because many drivers were over 50 and they began to retire from the business. Recently, trucking companies are trying to recruit younger men and women to join the driving ranks, and they are offering high-tech training programs to assist them in preparing for the job.

The main job of a truck driver is to drive the truck. However, in the drayage process, many times the driver is asked to wait long periods for containerized cargo to be loaded or unloaded by the rail ramp or by ocean ports, and this wait time can cost the driver money if they are getting paid by the mile or by the load.

In addition, if the driver is working at a shipping pier the trips are usually within a metropolitan area, so they are not long trips. However, with any amount of city driving there can be lengthy waits in traffic or the need to drive in slower moving traffic. This increased wait time for the short-haul driver can be a reason that many leave the port drayage services to drive long haul where they do mostly driving and not waiting.Drivers are interested in less wait time, and if they can find a situation where they are paid by the hour, this will ensure available drivers.

One of the main issues facing the trucking industry and their inability to attract enough new drivers is the image of the truck driver. Many of the drivers who work in this profession are independent owner-operators. Especially in the port drayage services, there is a lot of confusion between the independent truckers and those drivers who work for a non-independent company. Lately there has been a movement to reduce the number of independent truckers working drayage at the dock, and this has caused independent truckers to look for work in the long-haul sector.

Shippers and freight-forwarders are increasingly more likely to hire trucking companies that pay their drivers by the hour to make sure they have the best port drayage service. This practice decreases the risks of hiring unqualified drivers who may charge unpredictable rates.

Some of the larger trucking companies offer signing bonuses to $12,000 to steal qualified drivers from other smaller companies. The average driver earns about $60,000 per year, and this has remained stable.

Final Thoughts

There is a driver shortage for port drayage services in the U.S. Some of this shortage is caused by natural job attrition, and some by a need to change aspects of the driver’s job. Asiana USA works with qualified and professional drayage services to complete your shipping and logistic transporting goods needs. Contact us at 855-500-1808 for an estimate.

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