The driver shortage is a topic that may be the most highly discussed and reported on in Canada and the USA. It isn’t just a North American concern, either. Earlier this year, the United Kingdom suffered from fuel shortages at gas stations due to lack of available drivers to haul the product from overstocked refineries to individual stations.
Driver shortages haven’t been felt the same way here in Canada, but that doesn’t mean the industry isn’t concerned about them. Carriers, individual drivers, and business leaders are all talking about this issue and trying to predict what future impacts it might have and to see what may be done to address the problem.
Shippers who rely on trucks to bring their products to market are naturally affected by a shortage of trucks and people to drive them. However, they also are part of the reason for the truck driver shortage, too. Carriers don’t typically have any sort of control over the conditions and efficiencies at an individual shipper; shippers that don’t provide facilities and parking to drivers are part of the reason why trucking struggles to attract and retain drivers.
To address this issue, shippers take creative approaches to addressing trucking capacity concerns. Some may hire their own drivers and buy their own trucks; others work with carriers collaboratively to keep drivers happy and products flowing. Such efforts are appreciated by everyone involved.
However, it might be the case that increased demands for products cannot be met. Trucking may be a flexible industry, but if demand exceeds capacity in our increasingly 24/7/365 world, there is only so much a carrier can do to meet demand.