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Driver Shortage 101 Not

I have enjoyed most the association events I have attended and been involved with over the past number of years on both sides of the border. A popular theme to most of them up until a year ago though was the driver shortage, and I sure don’t miss hearing about it. I was wondering about proposing a new breakout session that might raise some eyebrows and stir the pot so to speak when this subject comes back to haunt us all again.
You see if in fact we are coming out of this recession and start to see an upswing in capacity next year some time, the first indication will likely be the so called “Driver’s Shortage” coming back to industry headlines so I thought I might call my session “Driver Shortage the Untold Reality “or “Driver Shortage 101 Not” I would have to give this some thought.
You see the “Driver Shortage 101 Not” refers to what each of us has been bombard with over the past 15-year’s driver shortage driver shortage driver shortage, enough already. Anyone who has thought it through knows that an over population of vehicles does not mean there is a driver shortage it means trucking companies have a habit of buying to many trucks and then not being able to fill the seats, is that a driver shortage, I think not.
My session would support the reality of what a true driver shortage would look like and it would be much more obvious than trucks against a fence at someone’s terminal it would directly affect the consumer as in, off they go to the market or store and they see an empty self where there shouldn’t be one.
Not because the product or foodstuff doesn’t exist but because the shipper could not get a truck at any price to actually pick the freight up and deliver it! This thought scares the wits out of shippers, I have seen shippers over the years continually jump on the driver shortage band wagon and they will do it again when the economy turns around, it protects their margins to see trucking companies beat each other up over capacity. Shippers want trucking companies to overpopulate themselves as it creates greater competition and lowers their freight rates.
Shippers have a vested interest in seeing that trucking companies continue to grow their fleets and compete over every scrap of freight in sight, it depresses rates and they are the only ones who win at that game.
I would love to see this economy snap back quicker than anyone ever thought possible and real shortage of drivers happen in the market place. It wouldn’t likely last but it might be fun for awhile!
Picture a trucker posting their open capacity on a web site where shippers go online in auction fashion to bid for skid space against other shippers, highest bid wins and of course freight must be paid in full before any pickups of freight are made….

Ray Haight

Ray Haight

Mr. Ray Haight has enjoyed a successful career in transportation starting as a company driver and Owner Operator logging over one million accident free miles prior to starting his own company. After stepping down from a successful career managing one of Canada’s 50 largest trucking companies, Ray focused on industry involvement including terms as Chairman of each of the following, the Truckload Carriers Association, Professional Truck Drivers Institute, North American Training and Management Institute and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities voluntary apprenticeship of Tractor Trailer Commercial Driver, along with many other business interests, he enjoys a successful consulting business, also sitting on various Boards of both industry associations a private motor carriers. He is also Co-Founder of StakUp O/A TCAinGauge an online bench marking service designed to assist trucking companies throughout North America focus on efficiency and profitability within their operations.
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8 Comments » for Driver Shortage 101 Not
  1. Dale Bishop says:

    I must say i agree with Ray Haight about the perceived driver shortage,although i think alot of the driver shortage/turnover that is legit has alot to do with the individual trucking companies and the way they treat their drivers. I have worked for a number of companies over the last 15yrs,and the honest,respectful ones are few and far between.They treat their drivers as throw away items,to be discarded at will,and invariably they alienate them to such a point that they quit.My own personal experience is that the overwhelming majority of companies i have quit are guilty of stealing [i can put it no other way]legitimately earned money.How sad is that,they have to steal from their employees to run their business.
    I do not believe there is a driver shortage,i believe there is a shortage of good companies that the driver will work for.I also could never fathom the power that is given to dispatchers,i have seen many a good driver leave a company for no other reason than the dispatcher.Why would a company not question a dispatcher closely as to why his driver has decided to quit and why would you not have an exit interview to find out those reasons.Ican only imagine the cost associated with getting a new driver up to speed from scratch.Dispatchers can be invaluable to a company,but they can also be extremely expensive also.
    Dale Bishop

  2. Rikk Chafe says:

    I agree with both Ray and Dale, I would love to see shppers bidding to get a load delivered to it’s destination. I also have heard of numerous drivers leaving a company because of there dispatcher, I have only been driving 16 months and for only one company but some of the stuff i have heard from drivers in the same company that they drove for before blows my mind.
    Rikk Chafe

  3. Kevin Snobel says:

    It is a shame Ray that THE MEDIA and THE GOVERNMENT continue to distort a perceived problem with a real problem. Do we really need 15,000 20,000 or 30,000 new drivers every year in Canada alone. Let’s be reaistic,
    Maybe the governments should get together relax a little, lighten up cross border regulations, hassles, tieups, and face reality. The days of “CRIMINALS ” taking truck driving jobs as they could not find anything else, are long gone. We have University graduates driving trucks. We have new immigrants driving trucks, we have Canadian and US citizens driving trucks, and everyone in between.
    The shortage is more, ATTRITION, AND the perceived shortfall due to if nothing else, OUR AGING POPULATION. We all know Truck Driving is not considered a Glamorous vacation, not considered high tech, not considered to be upward mobile?
    That is more the root problem

  4. Robert D. Scheper says:

    In regards to driver turnover I’ve agreed with Ray in the past, and in this case he’s right again. I have also agreed (and will continue to agree) with Ray’s pounding the media waves about proper training of new drivers.
    The problem Ray is confronted with is “out of sight out of mind”. In the recession virtually NOBODY is hiring as the industry hunkers down in a foxhole waiting for the bomb’s to stop falling. When (if) the economy the economy rebounds Ray will have the satisfaction of saying “I told you so” (a sweet moment in any career).
    However, Dale Bishop’s point of companies steeling from drivers has always been a problem, and since the recession started is more acute than ever before. When (if) demand rebounds, the recruiting RV’s will be polished and the $100k cat and mouse game will continue. Interestingly enough, 5 years ago (before the recession) a driver left a company after working there for 17years. His wife washed their personal vehicle in the company truck wash bay every Friday for virtually every year her husband drove there (free of charge). When he left they deducted $35 off his statement for that Friday’s “car wash”. You can guarantee that exit interview never occurred. He was just tired of flat deck (at his age it’s normal). I must have heard that story fifty times by guys who thought of working there. It was there deciding factor.
    So this company chose to save the $35 today so they could spend $100k in recruiting in the future…. BRILIANT!
    Ray… you got your hands full.

  5. donald j .miller says:

    yes l nave heard that there has been shortage of driver out there. l know it has been not good for trucker out there. life goes on. we all have to help eachother out in times. keep on trucking. ABM-Z. l have 7yrs of safety driving award. get on with life. l was on a dairy farm, now driving a bus,and want to drive a Western Star.but if the problem is not going well,then maybe keep on busing. THANKS.

  6. Jamez says:

    Driver shortage? I wish…
    I just recently graduated with an AZ, passed MTO test first go round, with TTSAO diploma that supposedly counts as 3 years driving experience to Ins. Cos.
    I am also university educated and eager to work, strive to be the best at no matter what I do, well proven in sales and technology as an understatement, and guess what… without 3 to 5 years driving experience (never mind the TTSAO, it means squat) they don’t even want to speak with you!
    So much for investing 6 grand for a 2 month arduous course of intensive training dedicated enormous energies 7 days a week. One could swear they’d need a Bachelors degree to even accomplish this much material over such a short duration let alone become fluent with driving and backing.
    Now I am a fully trained transportation engineer, aka-truck driver, unable to find work. It’s horrific.
    I see no driver shortage as I frantically plug away as a single parent looking for my first company to work with for the many productive years I have left before retirement as if the other sectors of the economy were not bad enough to have me take this course to begin with, even with my stellar background. Nuts eh? Did I mention this is horrific?

  7. Darren H says:

    I agree with Dale, In 14 years as a driver, i have worked for one guy that i could trust, and told it to you straight. He left that company, and everything went down hill. Every company since, has lied, stole, abused, me in some shape or form. There was never any consideration to the driver, and his, or hers family needs. Nothing,but broken promises. Its always our customers,our customers. That first guy i worked for had it rite. “OUR FIRST CUSTOMER IS OUR DRIVER” After all without them we couldn’t even start a company, let alone maintain one.

  8. Mike Hamel says:

    I totally agree with Darren H !! Our Driver’s are #1 and not the customer. If we can’t find good quality professional drivers, then how are we supposed to deliver the product to the customer in a safe professional manner? As a commercial driver of 15 years and now a driver trainer for a large company, it is IMPERATIVE that I respect our drivers and listen to and address thier concerns. I have an open door policy to all of our drivers and they love the fact that they can come an talk and vent about issues that are building up within themselves. We need to be reminded that these professional drivers are just like anyone one of us,,they’re not “monkeys”. Yes they can be easily replaced but who can’t be replaced these days! There have been CEO’s that have been replaced and the company keeps on ticking.Your drivers will make your company or BREAK your company.
    I encourage all companies to listen to your drivers concerns and work with them and also provide on going training.It’ll go a long way because the driver will see that the company cares about their drivers thus stimulating a huge positive attitude on the drivers part which will reap big dividends for the company!
    Mike Hamel

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