The shortage of truck drivers in both Canada and the U.S. will eventually cause prices to rise for consumers if the situation isn’t resolved, reports Dave Battagello of the Windsor Star.
Based on an interview with the Canadian Trucking Alliance’s David Bradley, the article reports that the ongoing shortage of truck drivers is poised to get worse and will soon lead to added costs for consumers:
The time has come for improved pay, benefits and working conditions so that truck driving is considered a “skilled occupation,” said David Bradley, president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance.
“We have a chronic looming driver shortage,” he said. “It’s really being felt in Ontario even though economic growth here is slow compared to out west where this is a white-hot issue in Alberta. As the economy improves here, it’s only going to get worse.”
With not enough drivers and about 70 per cent of goods moving by truck, the growing lack of drivers will cause delays on getting goods to retail outlets. That will force corporations to pay more to get them there on time.
When that happens, Bradley said the choice for companies will be to either absorb those costs by cutting into profits or simply pass them on to consumers.
Something has to be done, Bradley said.
“First and foremost, we have a demographic tsunami,” he said. “We have one of the oldest workforces in the country with 26 per cent of our drivers over the age of 50. We have tens of thousands of drivers retiring every year and we are not getting young people into the business.”
The problem is much the same in the U.S. — Canada’s main trading partner — with a current shortage of about 35,000 truckers projected to jump as high as 240,000 by 2022, said Bob Costello, chief economist for the American Trucking Association.
The U.S. shortage is often more about “quality” than quantity, he said. Too many companies simply can’t find drivers with the sufficient qualifications required for the job[/textbox]
Bradley said there needs to be programs in place to attract people:
“You need minimal standards in place to enter the field. We need to make it better than or at least competitive with other occupations. You need to treat it as a profession and not a low-wage job like a burger flipper.”
Read the full article here: