My father-in-law, Jack, was a truck driver at heart. While he owned several diverse businesses, he always seemed to love trucking. A milk truck in his 20’s, regional transport with 18 wheelers in his 30’s and 40’s, some produce trucking in his 50’s followed by dump trucks in his 60’s and beyond. Today we have data showing that over half of all truck operators are 45 or older.
The concerning part is that the 25-34 year old demographic is not choosing to enter the field. In 1994 30% of the drivers were in that age range; today it is 15%. This will only serve to exacerbate the impending shortage of CDL licensed operators. Fleet executives list the driver shortage as their #1 concern for 2015. It is followed immediately by hours of service rules.
Even with fuel prices heading down, the one-way freight prices are expected to rise 3-5% this year. Freight shipments have slowed with the terrible weather in many parts of the country, but they are expected to increase steadily in March and April. In May we will start to see capacity issues which should last the remainder of the year.
All of our outbound transportation is handled through a dedicated fleet arrangement. We have begun to explore the opportunities to expand that relationship to deal with inbound freight as well. Taking control of the supply chain is a critical initiative to guarantee end-to-end performance. I wish Jack was still here to help with this because it was definitely his passion. I hope we can find that passion in the next generation.