Where Are All the Trucks?
The ongoing driver shortage has been a trending issue for years, and at last count there are roughly 80,000 driving positions in this country that are currently not being filled. Again, that’s something that has been a given within the trucking industry for over a decade.
Most recently it’s the national shortage on baby formula, coupled with the continued skyrocketing fuel prices, that has a nation firmly in the grip of constant consternation. But for the moment let’s address a significant shortage that is only barely being mentioned, at least outside of the transportation sector.
The Truck Shortage
A conversation topic that is routinely recurring with trucking companies short on drivers, is that they are also short on equipment. Trucks. Not only have they already been weathering the storm from the lack of drivers, or driver interest, but they are now facing a challenge when it comes to ordering equipment to facilitate what drivers they do have.
At the beginning of the year, many companies had already been told that they were being placed on a waiting list bearing any arrival of new trucks. In many cases, that waiting list extends itself way beyond the end of 2022 and into 2023. Many companies have been putting their driver recruitment efforts on hold due to the fact they don’t know when they’ll have an adequate number of trucks with which to be filled.
What’s the Hold-Up?
There is a global shortage of computer chips, a key component that has halted production on many different types of vehicles including Class 8 trucks. Production levels for semi-trucks in 2021 were slashed due to the chip shortage, which increased the wariness of semi-truck dealerships in terms of booking orders for new vehicles ahead of 2022.
In response to such a manufacturing shortage, the value of used semi-trucks has exponentially increased. In August of 2021, J.D. Power reported that Class 8 truck sales prices climbed over 86% compared to the first seven months of the previous year. And prices are expected to continue to rise throughout the remainder of 2022.
What Can Be Done?
The trucking industry is certainly open to suggestions on how to combat the truck shortage. As well as the driver shortage. As well as the high price of fuel. Answers are desperately wanted. You can see where these are conflicts the transportation world is fighting on several different fronts, and they all go hand-in-hand.
It’s a domino effect that, in actuality, started long before the pandemic as the shortage of qualified drivers stretched from one decade into the next. But with the continued backlog of ships at the nation’s ports, the lack of trucks and drivers to haul that stymied freight across the country has been magnified beyond what most experts could have possibly imagined.
Patience. At least, as patient as we all can be. But practicing patience might just be the only viable course of action at the moment. It also may just be the only thing we can individually control until the next shoe drops.