The trucking industry has experienced many challenges, and it seems that 2023 was no different. One of the main reasons for the difficulties in the trucking industry is the freight shortage. This shortage has caused what is known as a domino effect and has caused issues with stakeholders in the trucking industry, along with trucking companies, truck drivers, and consumers.
The Reason Behind the Freight Shortage
With the freight shortage this is impacting businesses, countries, and shippers across the world. Below are the reasons for the freight shortage.
Effects of the Pandemic: One of the main reasons for the freight shortage is the effects of the pandemic. The pandemic has caused many issues and imbalances in the trucking supply chain. Still, to this day, many businesses are struggling to refill their inventories, which has caused an increase in demand for freight transportation services.
Port Backups: Many ports are dealing with congestion and backup. This has caused an increase in freight shortage. In return, businesses have seen shipping costs increase and passed this down to their consumers.
Driver Shortage: There is still a driver shortage in the trucking industry. The American Trucking Association has estimated the driver shortage reached 80,000 drivers in 2021; if this continues, the industry can see a more significant gap in capacity.
Overall, there are many contributions to the freight shortage in 2023, including the following:
- Issues caused by the pandemic,
- Increase in freight rates,
- Existing driver shortage,
- Capacity constraints.
How This Impacts Drivers
As a driver, they already see many challenges on the job, such as
- Physical deprivation
- Health challenges
With these factors already in place, it is difficult to attract new drivers and difficult to keep veteran drivers, which all play a part in the driver shortage.
As the trucking industry continues to face these challenges, employment opportunities for drivers during this time can fluctuate. With a driver shortage, you may think that means more jobs, but with the high demands and difficult job conditions, owner-operator jobs tend to discourage those wishing to be truck drivers.
When Will the Shortage End?
The freight industry has seen many challenges recently, primarily due to the pandemic. During the height of COVID-19 in 2022, there was a decline in freight services because borders closed. The effects of this are still seen in 2023, with a slow recovery in March 2023.
While the economic world has begun to stabilize, the freight industry still sees challenges because of the excess capacity and lack of demand. This has caused container rates to stay the same, with no end to the freight shortage soon.
International trade is beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels; experts predict it could take longer than anticipated for the freight shortage to come to an end. With the uncertainty of freight shortage, some drivers are beginning to wonder about job security.