Is there a transportation capacity crunch?

Jim Berge

By Jim Berge Business Development at King Solutions

capacity crunchWhat if you wanted to ship something but there was not an open truck in the U.S. to carry the freight for your company?

Sure, it sounds like the beginning of a fictional logistics nightmare, and with good reason. If there is one thing that is keeping shippers up at night, it would probably be the thought of a transportation capacity crunch. As this would likely cause shipping rates to increase, but also the possibility of a shortage of carriers unlike we’ve ever seen in the country.

What’s the source of this anxiety?
According to a report by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), supply chain professionals fear not being able to find carriers to haul their freight more than paying increased costs.

But is this crunch actually occurring? To find out, we took a closer look at the numbers.

Trucking in the U.S.
According to the American Trucking Associations, there is a current truck driver shortage in the logistics industry, and it is expected grow to a total of 48,000. These truck driver shortages are likely the cause of several factors:

1. The economy: during the last recession, many truck driving companies went out of business, and many truck drivers sold their equipment and left the industry in pursuit of another career.
2. CSA scores: these compliance, safety and accountability scores are a great way to keep freight and the roads safe. But there are companies who don’t want their score to be lowered, which often results in the termination of drivers who have a few tickets on their record.
3. Old age: the current generations of drivers are getting older and retiring.
4. Stigma: younger generations often look down on the profession and are not striving to enter the field.

But the numbers aren’t all doom and gloom. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the trucking industry will grow by 21 percent from 2010 to 2021. There may be a shortage now, but it may not persist as we approach the next decade and beyond.

Taking precautionary measures
It is too soon to predict whether or not we will ever reach the point where there aren’t enough carriers to handle the movement of most of the country’s freight, but if you are concerned about the looming carrier crunch, there are several precautions that can be taken:

1. Become more carrier-friendly: a carrier’s time is money, so ensure that warehouses are prepared to get drivers in and out as quickly as possible. Route optimization is another great way to shorten trips for drivers.
2. Use technology: software can make it easier and faster to pay carriers and help them find out more about the freight that is being shipped.
3. Form partnerships: carriers like to work with companies that they have good relationships with.

Work with a 3PL
Third party logistics providers like King Solutions have a huge network of carriers that isn’t going away anytime soon. To find out how you can gain access to the best carriers for the best rates, contact us today.