Truck driver shortage: What to expect in 2022admin
What’s Causing The Truck Driver Shortage?
As shipping backups at big U.S. ports start to lessen, concerns over supply chain growth continue to heighten as the U.S. and Canada impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for cross-border truckers, which could cause further disruption for the fresh produce industry.
How can we solve the truck driver shortage?
Each Country’s government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates have created a deeper disruption in supply chain shortages. Issues such as unusually high freight costs, truck driver shortage, and equipment to move goods on the East Coast bring particular concerns in fruit and vegetable markets. The declining truck driver workforce comes as no surprise since it’s been an issue plaguing the industry for over two decades and grew worse during the pandemic.
The mandates came as the Covid-19 hospitalization numbers in the U.S. climbed because of the highly contagious omicron variant. To address the shortage of truck drivers, President Biden released a $1 trillion bill. Part of this bill includes a federal apprenticeship pilot program that will reduce the current legal driving age of commercial trucks carrying cargo across state lines to 18.
Currently, the average truck driver age today is 37. This program can last up to three years with a completion of a 400 hour cumulative probationary time with an experienced driver. At the age of 21, they’ll be able to drive solo.
What are some of the safety concerns?
With many concerns and fears, safety advocates say the program is ill-advised and poses a larger risk of accidents. “It’s really a band-aid over a deep wound, and it’s also a wound in its own right. The problem is not a shortage of truck drivers, but a problem of retaining truck drivers. We think putting one of the most dangerous groups of drivers, teenagers, behind the wheel of 80,000-pound trucks will endanger not only the truckers themselves but everyone who is on the road with them,” said Cathy Chase, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.
With freight rates rising and a shortage of drivers looming, the fresh produce industry will continue to face challenges as it relies on timely movement across the supply chain. Facing these multifaceted issues head-on, Riviera Produce has made it a priority to try their best to support and meet the demands of their customers.