As the epidemic eases across the United States and economic activity returns to normal, the demand for transportation is beginning to increase; however, a ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, the largest fuel pipeline system in the United States, has caused fuel shortages and price increases, impacting the trucking industry and making truckers suffer.
A truck driver Klass (Lee Klass) said now he has to pay $3.6 per gallon, much higher than the epidemic during the $2.5 to $3; Forrest has 22 years of experience in driving trucks, the current fuel shortage to extend his working hours, 14 hours a day, often encountering long lines when refueling.
Some are concerned that the fuel price crisis will exacerbate the manpower shortage for some truck drivers, especially tanker drivers and other drivers who are out in the area.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that competition for local and short-haul truck drivers is fierce, and that the trucking industry, which recovered from the recession at the end of 2020, has seen wages rise by 4.6 percent since last November, indicating a significant shortage of employers.
The interim president of the National Tanker Trucking Association, a trade association, said there are 10 percent fewer tanker drivers in the United States than before the epidemic.
The transport industry, Marken (Albert McCann) said no one will drive during the epidemic, demand is reduced, many drivers therefore switch runways, engaged in other industries.
But some don’t think the shortage of truck drivers is representative of the problem, and the head of public relations for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, a business organization for truck drivers, said the real problem is high turnover. Turnover, especially in the trucking and long-haul sectors, is as high as 90 to 100 percent for long-haul.
“Safety is compromised when you’re constantly recruiting and hiring new people,” says Spencer, president of the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association.
He also said not every sector of the trucking industry has a retention problem, the key is pay and benefits, $40,000 to $50,000 may seem attractive on the surface, but in reality drivers have to work 60 to 80 hours a week.
With about 450,000 to 500,000 commercial driver’s licenses issued each year, there are a lot of drivers, but with a serious cyber attack like this one, driver staffing may be affected.
Spencer noted, “Because of the fuel line shutdown, there will be higher than normally expected demand, and if demand suddenly doubles and you’re not prepared, you can’t afford all your business.”