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CPX eyes young, old workers to alleviate driver shortage

SURREY, B.C. -- Coastal Pacific Xpress Inc. is recruiting everyone from early retirees to younger people fresh out ...

SURREY, B.C. — Coastal Pacific Xpress Inc. is recruiting everyone from early retirees to younger people fresh out of driving school in order to address a critical driver shortage in the industry.

In particular, people who have retired early from a career outside of trucking make for great truckers because they’re motivated, mature and reliable, said Jim Mickey, general manager at CPX.

“We greatly value early retirees, people in their 50s, and we believe a career at CPX can work for them,” said Mickey. “They may have retired from a job in another industry and still want to stay active. Or, a husband and wife may wish to travel and earn an income at the same time.” Often, couples will buy and drive their own trucks instead of driving a company vehicle a “dream situation,” said Mickey. He said it offers potential annual earnings of $100,000 per couple.

A recent report from Statistics Canada warned that the trucking industry faces a serious shortage of qualified drivers due to an aging workforce, a shortage of young drivers and a declining interest in trucking as a career. Increasing demands for trucking services across North America magnifies the situation even further.

CPX also has student-hiring programs. It has set up alliances with B.C.’s top two driver-training schools and graduates are closely supervised by seasoned truck drivers from CPX to get much-needed long-haul driving experience. The company expects to graduate as many as 50 new industry-class drivers from the program this year.

“The underlying problem is that trucking is not as attractive an industry as it once was,” said Mickey. “The best way to correct the problem is to improve working conditions.” He said employers must provide adequate compensation, ensure truckers get respect on the job and make sure that employees have a decent work-life balance.

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