Throughout the recent recession, small- and mid-size trucking companies closed their doors at an alarming rate. The reasons were many but the result was that there were more trucks than there was freight demand, creating competitive markets that drove down freight rates.
On top of that were higher costs for insurance, maintenance and regulatory compliance. According to the American Trucking Association (ATA), more than 15,000 trucking companies closed their doors during the economic downturn.
With the economy on the comeback trail, it’s not surprising to find a shortage of trucking capacity. However, the problem is not only the availability of trucks but also finding qualified drivers to sit behind the wheel. A trucker’s life on the road can be pretty tough. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average age of a commercial truck driver is 55, which reflects the difficulty in getting younger people into the profession. It’s estimated that there are more than 150,000 unfilled driver positions in America. Federal regulations have created additional challenges for trucking companies and drivers to earn money as new rules for Hours of Service have gone into effect limiting the number of hours a trucker can drive in a day or week.
When looking for trucking resources, look first to trusted partners like TP Trucking, which has responded to these new realities.
Here are some tips to help you deal with this transportation reality:
- Allow for more time between when you place an order and when you need it to arrive at your location.
- If you can forecast your shipping needs, give them to us so we can plan ahead.
- If you have regularly scheduled transportation needs, we can work to have those loads covered on a consistent basis.
- Unload truck arrivals in a timely and efficient manner. That will put the truck back on the road as soon as possible, something that is good for both the receiver of the load and the trucking company.
- Consider the use of intermodal transportation that combines railcars and trucks. Putting truck containers onto flatbed railcars is cost-competitive. Make sure your receiving dock can handle a container.
- Rail service has continued its gradual improvement. Filling a railcar is roughly equivalent to three truckloads.
What questions about shipping wood products do you have?
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.