Much has changed in the trucking industry since the pandemic brought us COVID-19 restrictions. Many of these changes will continue well after the pandemic subsides. Moving forward, trucking companies and truck drivers must pivot to keep moving in the right direction. Plus, there will be a need to satisfy the demand for more truck drivers in the coming decade.
There are many changes to the trucking industry including an increased need for additional truck drivers, retirement of current truck drivers, a change in consumer behavior, and the need for increased efficiency. These are some of the changes that will continue to be important well after COVID-19 has subsided. Many consumers now have a positive view of truck drivers, understand that truck drivers are an essential part of the supply chain, and without them the system would collapse.
Positive View of Truck Drivers by Consumers
Most people before COVID-19 had a neutral view of truck drivers. They knew that truck drivers were doing a good job and working hard, but it all happened in the background. COVID-19 brought their contribution to the forefront, as chronicled by a paper published in the National Library of Medicine.
Americans now understand that the trucking industry and supply chain had many disruptions during the pandemic. This disruption and the subsequent media coverage has helped make the population at large more sympathetic to truck drivers. We now understand that truck drivers transport everything on our shelves, from food and gas to raw materials and finished goods. We realized that without truck drivers as frontline workers, our goods would not be delivered to us at grocery stores, our electronics wouldn’t get from the ports to our retailers and raw materials wouldn’t transport across the country to help those making goods.
Are Truck Drivers in Demand?
Ohio has a shortage of truck drivers and in 2020, the Ohio House of Representatives reported that in 2014, the truck driving industry faced a shortage of 38,000 drivers, with the number since increased to a shortage of 50,000 drivers as of 2020.
Why are Truck Drivers in Demand?
According to the American Trucking Association, 72% of freight in the US is transported by truck. In the US, there is a shortage of 80,000 truck drivers and that will reach 160,000 new truck drivers by 2030. The ATA estimates that the industry will need to recruit over 1 million truck drivers in the next decade to replace the retiring drivers, those that have left for a different career or lifestyle, and the additional drivers needed to satisfy additional demand. What does this shortage point to for the increased demand?
- High average age of current drivers, which will lead to higher retirement rates
- An influx of women needed in the truck driving industry
- Federally mandated minimum age of 21 to drive commercially across state lines
- Voluntary leave of truck drivers for lifestyle reasons
To help the industry find additional truck drivers to meet demand, the White House as released an action plan to reduce some of the barriers of drivers obtaining their CDL and efforts to get more female and younger truck drivers.
Trucking Strategies and Business Adaptations to Demand
During and after the pandemic, the trucking industry has changed many strategies and adapted their business to a changing landscape. An increase in e-commerce sales has shifted trucking from small business retail to larger e-commerce businesses like Amazon and Walmart. More trucking roles were needed to move e-commerce items from manufacturers to distribution hubs and from ports to warehouses. Whether it is the finished products that are sold online or the raw materials that make these products, the truck driving industry had to pivot to the increased demand for truck drivers in the industry.
There was also a shift in spending on goods over services, especially during the pandemic. This increase in spending on goods bogged down the supply chain and required additional resources that included truck drivers to move the goods around the country. This increased the demand for additional truck drivers that will continue well after COVID-19.
The food industry also needed a new strategy because consumers were buying more food at grocery stores rather than restaurants. This caused great challenges in logistics. Many trucking routes needed to adapt to the new consumer habits. The aftereffects of the pandemic may further this trend, with consumers eating less at restaurants and shopping more at grocery stores for their food. The trucking industry must adapt to this change in consumer behavior and hire additional truck drivers to fill demand.
Cross Training for more Certified Truck Drivers
Truck driving companies should cross train employees in case one or two drivers are out and someone needs to keep a small trucking company running. That way, everyone that can drive a semi is certified with a Class A CDL and completes training at a truck driving academy.
There is also a demand for those with Class A CDL to operate trucks locally. Driving construction trucks, busses and other large vehicles that aren’t necessarily 18 wheelers. This will further increase demand for truck drivers in the coming decade.
The truck driving industry is changing to meet the post COVID-19 world. The good news is that truck drivers are in demand. Did you know that you can get your Class A CDL in as little as 4 weeks? The Truck Driving Academy at Ohio Business College offers a certificate in truck driving and prepares you for the Class A CDL driving exam. If you are in Dayton, Middletown, or Columbus and want to start a rewarding career, Ohio Business College is here to help. So, get behind the wheel and start driving toward your future.
Want to Learn More?
If you are ready to take to the open road, hauling inventory across the state of Ohio and potentially the rest of the United States, one of the CDL certificate programs at Ohio Business College’s Truck Driving Academy is the perfect place to start. With Ohio locations in Dayton, Middletown and Columbus, our Truck Driving Academy offers one of the most respected Class A CDL certificate programs in the Tri-State region.
If you are interested in a truck driving profession, let Ohio Business College answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to learn more about our Truck Driving programs.