It is getting harder for many U.S. companies to keep on truckin.' The shortage of truck drivers that's been reported in recent years is now being made worse by the so-called "Amazon effect"---the rise of e-commerce deliveries, which is taking even more potential labor away from companies that need truckers to ship their products. The American Trucking Association says trucks account for more than 70 percent of all tonnage moved in the U.S., but finding qualified drivers to move that tonnage has become increasingly difficult in recent years.
Lonnie Pollock IV is the director of sourcing and supply for Pollock Paper, a Dallas company in business for 100 years. He tells KTRH the Amazon effect is only one of several factors making it harder to find and keep good truck drivers. "As more products are shipped nationally, the impact of some of the natural disasters---hurricanes, wildfires and things of that nature---really diverted a lot of traffic and logistics to those disaster areas," says Pollock. Pollock Paper has a fleet of more than 100 trucks, but it has been a challenge keeping them all on the road. "We have our own fleet of drivers, and we have to really make sure that we're taking care of them and continue to recruit harder," says Pollock.
Besides the Amazon effect and natural disasters, another big factor in the trucker shortage is simply generational. "I read a report that the average truck driver age right now is 55," says Pollock. "So the shortage really comes because there's not enough influx of younger drivers."
Getting those younger drivers to sign up for a life on the road has become a priority for the industry, and has led to more opportunities and better working conditions for truck drivers. "It's an industry right now where signing bonuses are very prevalent," says Pollock. "So what we try to do is ensure that we are competitive in our wages, but we also make sure that we're a good place to work, for truck drivers or otherwise."