Whether you are a driver who takes on long hauls over the road or runs frequent dedicated routes, drivers help sustain life and make the world go round. In the United States, drivers are responsible for moving 69% of total freight1 and that amount of freight is expected to grow an additional 26% by 20262. At any given time, there is freight being transported to deliver goods to grocery stores, hospitals, drug stores, and more. Consumers may not realize how important a truck driver is to their lives. In the United States, 80% of communities depend solely on trucking3. Every tangible object you encounter has been on a trailer at some point within that product’s lifecycle.
Have you ever thought of what would happen if there weren’t any trucks or truck drivers? It would be difficult to get everyday necessities. From raw materials to manufactured goods, deliveries are being made to sustain life. Beverages, food, gas, medicine, even money, are all transported by truck to reach their destinations. Without truck drivers, the economy would collapse. The commercial trucking industry delivers 84% of the countries entire revenue4. If trucking came to a halt, a ripple effect would impact the rest of the economy.
Without truckers, a lack of food, water, gas, and sanitary items would lead to inferior health conditions around the world. Some locations experienced a glimpse of the absence of trucks after disruptions such as natural disasters occurred. During these times, these communities see the true impact that drivers have in providing the communities. Companies with a supply chain risk strategy can help mitigate these unexpected events; however, what can be more difficult to plan for is the growth of the driver shortage that is expected in the future.
Today, there are a total of over 800,000 drivers employed in the United States5. Truck drivers are such a huge part of the supply chain that they continue to be in high demand. As of June there are about 48,000 current driver opportunities available throughout the industry. As the majority of truck drivers begin to reach retirement age, the American Trucking Association expects the shortage to rise to 890,000 through 20255. Until then, carriers and shippers should continue to find ways to improve the quality of lives for drivers. Shippers who outsource their transportation operations can rely on their logistics partner to hire and retain drivers. Encouragement, training, advancement, and recognition should be something that’s available to all supply chain professionals.
The driver shortage isn’t the only challenge that could bring trucking to a halt. Drivers can’t do their jobs if infrastructure isn’t there to support them. Roads and bridges around the country are in dire need of upgrades. Organizations continue to work to invest in improving these conditions, but drivers have to continue to make trips regardless of the road obstacles they may encounter.
As long as consumers continue to utilize goods, the world will depend on truck drivers to continue to move. If you know a truck driver, take a moment to thank them for continuing to play a huge role in providing us with everything we need.