JP Wiggins, vice president of logistics for 3Gtms, describes how shippers and brokers can meet and overcome transportation obstacles and driver shortages.
Describing the driver shortage as “deep and complicated,” Wiggins says there are more drivers now than ever, but there’s been a major shift in where they work. Among the changes: Major truckload fleets are seeing turnover rates upwards of 90%, and owner-operator companies are on the rise. “There were 100,000 new trucking companies created last year, most of which are a single owner-operator, somebody with less than six trucks or so.”
However, private fleet operations are seeing a great deal of action. Becoming an employee of a company is a great advantage for a driver, Wiggins says, because of benefits and the ability to pick many of their routes.
“It's tough being a long-haul truck driver. It's not a life suited for everyone. So I think we still have more drivers than we ever have. It's just that we're seeing a rise with more private fleets, and it's just an explosion in the owner-operator.”
Wiggins says tech-savvy younger drivers will enter the market if companies give them high-tech trucks. “Make them feel that they're part of the technical revolution and connected. That's an important aspect for the modern generation of drivers coming up. They need to feel connected and they need to feel empowered.” He recommends pursuing Uber and Lyft drivers.
On another topic, Wiggins says shippers must be “dynamic” today. Doing business with one’s favorite carrier is no longer viable. “You must do mode shift. Maybe you can move some of your LTL [less-than-truckload] to multi-step truck. Maybe you can move some of your parcel together to LTL. Maybe you can use pool distribution. You’ve got to look at intermodal.”
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