AP

Wanted: 80,000 truck drivers to help fix the supply chain

Oct 19, 2021, 9:16 PM

global supply chain...

In this aerial image, trucks transport cargo containers at the Port of Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 14, 2021. - Closed factories, clogged ports, no truck drivers -- up and down the global supply chain there are problems, raising concerns that it could disrupt the global economic recovery. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

 (CNN) — The trucking industry is short 80,000 truck drivers, a record high, Chris Spear, President and CEO of the American Trucking Associations, tells CNN.

That’s a 30% increase from before the pandemic, when the industry already faced a labor shortage of 61,500 drivers.

“That’s a pretty big spike,” Spear added. Many drivers are retiring, dropping out of the industry. Increased consumer demand, prompting a need for more drivers, also plays a big role in the shortfall.

This comes at a time when US ports are backlogged — primarily because there are few trucks and drivers to pick up cargo — creating a supply chain slowdown. President Biden directed the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to move to 24/7 operations. However, the ports can’t yet work round the clock because importers don’t have enough drivers to move their cargo at all hours.

“24/7 operations – it’s an improvement,” said Spear. “But it doesn’t matter if it’s a port in LA or Long Beach, or the last mile of delivery from a train to a warehouse in Wichita. You’re going to have to have a driver and a truck move that freight.”

Truck drivers move 71% of the US economy’s goods, but represent just 4% of the vehicles on the roads, said Spear. If nothing is done, the latest figures put the industry on track for a shortage of 160,000 drivers by 2030, and the need for 1,000,000 new drivers over the next ten years, according to the American Trucking Associations.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill awaiting action in Congress would authorize hundreds of billions of dollars for transportation, which would include workforce development for the trucking industry. That would allow 3,000 drivers between the ages of 18-20 to undergoing training, permitting them to drive tractor-trailers across state lines. Currently, drivers must be 21 to do so.

Spear believes younger drivers are the key answer to the labor shortage.

“I think that clearly is the most impactful thing that could be done right now to alleviate this problem. So next year, [we] are not going to be having this conversation because it will alleviate itself because we’re investing,” said Spear.

Read more:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

AP

A pail rests next to caution tape on a beach in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Fla., on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2...

Associated Press

Young girl killed when a hole she dug in the sand collapsed on a Florida beach, authorities said

A young girl died Tuesday when a deep hole she was digging collapsed on her at a south Florida beach, authorities said.

18 hours ago

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018....

MEAD GRUVER Associated Press

A Colorado man is dead after a pet Gila monster bite

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death if the creature's venom was the cause.

19 hours ago

Visitors stand at the closed gates leading to the Eiffel Tower, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 in Paris....

OLEG CETINIC Associated Press

Eiffel Tower operator warns the landmark is closed as strike turns visitors away for a second day

A strike at the Eiffel Tower over poor financial management turned away visitors on Tuesday for the second consecutive day.

1 day ago

capitol one building...

KEN SWEET AP Business Writer

Capital One to buy Discover for $35 billion in deal that combines major US credit card companies

Capital One Financial is buying Discover Financial Services for $35 billion, in a deal that would bring together two of the nation's biggest lenders and credit card issuers.

2 days ago

An open-air double decker sightseeing bus stops on the slopes of Table Mountain, overlooking the ci...

GERALD IMRAY Associated Press

A ship carrying 19,000 cattle caused a big stink in the South African city of Cape Town

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — What stinks? Authorities in Cape Town launched an investigation Monday after a foul stench swept over the South African city. City officials inspected sewage facilities for leaks, and an environmental health team was activated before the source of the smell was discovered: a ship docked in the harbor carrying […]

2 days ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump holds gold Trump sneakers at Sneake...

MICHAEL R. SISAK Associated Press

Here’s a look inside Donald Trump’s $355 million civil fraud verdict as an appeals fight looms

On the witness stand last year, Donald Trump proclaimed: "I have a lot of cash." After Friday's eye-popping penalty in his New York civil fraud trial, he's going to need it.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Wanted: 80,000 truck drivers to help fix the supply chain