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3 Fresh Ways to Beat the Truck Driver Shortage

We’re already into 2021 and the US CDL and Non-CDL truck driver shortage is still with us. According to the ATA this issue has been plaguing the trucking industry since 2005 and their projections have the shortage swelling to 160,000 drivers by 2028.


Along with compensation, soft-benefits that enhance quality of life are fueling driver retention!

Reasons for this shortfall include older drivers retiring, while younger workers are opting not to enter the trucking industry. Right now, the average age for drivers is 46 and up. Downward pressure on wages, and increased electronic monitoring has made the trucking industry less lucrative too. While one sees the ads “Make a $100,000 a Year Driving Big Rigs!” the national average rate for Class A CDL drivers is more like $54,080 and Non-CDL drivers earn an average of $14.30 an hour. Today there are more opportunities to earn the same wage without putting in the amount of hard work it takes to drive a truck.

Throw in a pandemic; the explosive growth of internet delivery; a perceived lack of respect toward truck drivers; and the failure to attract workers that reflect the diverse makeup of our society, and it drives home the scope of a problem that’s not going away soon. Demand is already higher than supply and when the economy improves, demand increases...and the shortage grows.

So, how do you recruit, hire, and retain both CDL and non-CDL drivers?

According to Fleet Owner the keys to success, especially with younger drivers, are money, respect, and quality of life. The first two are obvious, everyone wants to feel they’re paid what they are worth and are being treated well, but one and two won’t work unless you have three...an acceptable lifestyle. Since most of us work at least 50% of the time we’re awake, our job is a major factor in our quality of life.

Here are three win-win scenarios where the Demountable solution provides superior job conditions that contribute to the hiring and retention of drivers. By reducing downtime to shorten the workday; eliminating the need to load and unload trucks; and letting drivers spend more time at home, the system markets itself to potential drivers. From a big picture standpoint, it also reduces labor and operating costs while increasing efficiency and opportunity throughout the enterprise.

Scenario One: Non-CDL drivers operating Swap Body trucks. From a delivery driver’s perspective this is a great gig! Since the cargo is loaded independent of the truck, drivers aren’t required to load, or even wait while their truck is loaded. To unload at job-sites they simply swap a body and go. The flexibility of having multiple containers (a.k.a. truck bodies) for each truck frees-up scheduling for a calm and predictable day. Trucks are often able to make a 2nd run during regular working hours and drivers can still be home with family for dinner.


Just Swap and Go! - No loading and quick turn-times keep drivers and trucks moving!

Scenario Two: A mobile distribution center on a semi-trailer...a Warehouse on Wheels. It consists of multiple preloaded containers that are shuttled on a tractor-trailer to, and dropped off in a remote market about 150 miles from a distribution center where locally stationed Non-CDL straight-truck drivers mount the containers and finish the final mile. Containers can be shuttled to the market at night to reduce time spent in traffic. Local delivery drivers depart first-thing since containers are preloaded and no time’s required to load. More deliveries are possible during working hours which maximizes driver leisure time. Along with top-notch working conditions for driver recruitment, Warehouse on Wheels helps companies replace a cross dock facility with with a parking lot for swapping containers. Hours-of-service compliance is easier to manage, and productivity increases.

Using the same concept, companies running PUP trailer operations can recruit drivers from the larger Non-CDL pool by replacing PUP trailers operated by Class A CDL drivers with straight trucks operated by Non-CDL drivers. A quick googling of national average rates puts Class A CDL drivers at about $26.00 an hour, while their more plentiful, Non-CDL counterparts earn around $14.30 per hour. Hire from a larger pool of drivers and reduce costs by about $24,366 per driver annually.

Transferring preloaded containers puts drivers closer to home and makes cross docking unnecessary

Scenario Three: Long distance distribution through final mile delivery in congested urban areas. Imagine being able to deliver in the heart of the city with compact box trucks from a distribution center up to 300 miles away. This logistics solution utilizes two 12’ containers transported on a 26’ straight truck operated by a Class B CDL driver. They’re transported to just outside, or within the city limits and dropped off at a parking lot. There, 12’ straight trucks operated by Non-CDL drivers mount them and deliver to routes in the city. The empty containers from the previous round return to the distribution center on the 26’ straight truck. The compact straight trucks are easier to maneuver in tight urban areas making it easier for delivery drivers. And, the stem drive from distribution center to parking lot doesn’t require a more expensive Class A tractor-trailer driver.

Making job conditions better to help you market your company to potential drivers is a small part the Demountable solution. Demountables are the standard for peak efficiency in delivery across many industries. If you have questions about how “containerizing” your delivery operation would benefit your business please contact us.