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The US truck driver shortage

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posted on Aug, 2 2019 @ 01:40 PM
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USA Truck in the 2nd quarter of 2018, reported a net income of $2.5M. In the 2nd quarter of this year, they reported a net income of $1,000. They reported an increase in miles driven, but revenue per load was down 18.4% from last year, and 8.5% from the 1st quarter. Spot rates from June 2018 to June 2019 are down 18%. Rates are down 45% from July last year to July this year. Every indicator in the industry is down, except for capacity.

Trends

USA Truck profits plunge
edit on 8/2/2019 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 2 2019 @ 04:04 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Makes you feel great about those high stock prices doesn't it?

After the tax cuts our company gave everyone a couple hundred dollar bonus. Since then, we've been making record profits per year, but annual raises for 2 years now have been 0% on the justification that there's not enough money to give employees raises. Bonuses were cut as well.

A lot of what you ship, is stuff the company I'm at produces. We're selling more than ever, but no one other than the executives are seeing the money.



posted on Aug, 2 2019 @ 04:12 PM
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a reply to: Aazadan

I've been driving with this company going on 7 years. The only reason I've seen a $0.04 cpm increase in that time is because my other half drives with me. We've each gotten two $0.01 cpm raises in seven years. The nice thing is that we're on a dedicated lane.



posted on Aug, 2 2019 @ 08:43 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

What does that translate to in percentages? I'm not very well versed on standard driver rates, and I was under the impression that it can vary wildly based on the company and the sort of route you're driving.



posted on Aug, 2 2019 @ 09:00 PM
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a reply to: Aazadan

It does. We make $0.94/mile because we're contractors. That means we pay fuel, maintenance, insurance, permits, etc for the truck. So we make more per mile, since the company doesn't pay them. A team with our experience, running as company drivers, can average $0.45-0.60/mile, but that's split between both drivers. A solo driver, with no experience, starts out around $0.25/mile.

A solo driver, if they run hard, and run their hours out every week, can average about 1500-1800 miles. That works out to around $400 a week, before taxes. We run hard every week, and can average around 4800 miles. At $0.60/mile, the truck would make around $2900 a week, and each driver around $1440 before taxes. That's for Over The Road drivers. Regional, and Dedicated drivers generally make more, because they don't make as many miles. A Regional driver can run California to Texas and back. They generally stay within three states or so of where they're based.



posted on Aug, 3 2019 @ 11:11 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Geez, that's awful. While my job isn't truck driving, if I have to drive anywhere for work (and I occasionally do), they give us 68 cents a mile (plus or minus, it fluctuates slightly with gas prices and some other stuff) in addition to our wages. So, if I drive 2 hours away and opt to pay for it on my own credit card and my own vehicle rather than the company card, I get about $180 back in reimbursement, in addition to my regular wage. It seems to me like those rates you're getting are extremely low, considering you're actually professionals and you're running your own equipment, and getting contractor rates so you've got the additional expenses in there. Seems like driving rates haven't really moved at all in quite a while.

One question though, if a single driver gets 1500 to 1800 miles, how does a duo get 4800 miles? Are there different laws where say a single driver can only drive for say 8 hours per day, but if it's a team you can each switch off every 8 hours or something, so you get closer to say 22 hours rather than 8 hours of drive time each day?
edit on 3-8-2019 by Aazadan because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 3 2019 @ 12:00 PM
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a reply to: Aazadan

I won't go into great detail on Hours of Service, because it'll make your brain melt. The really basic version is we have 14 hours to work in a day. That includes fueling, inspections of the truck before and after we drive, etc. We can actually drive 11 of those 14. After either clock runs out, we have to take a 10 hour break before we can drive again. We're allowed to work 70 hours in 8 days. If that clock runs out, we have to take 34 hours off to reset it.

So that means a solo driver can run about half the day before having to park for 10 hours. A team just keeps switching orff and the truck keeps moving 24 hours a day if necessary.



posted on Aug, 3 2019 @ 12:03 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

So then, why does the industry even use solo drivers anymore when a 2 person team would more than double the productivity of each truck?



posted on Aug, 3 2019 @ 12:48 PM
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a reply to: Aazadan

Because there are a lot of loads that a team would be wasted on. Most freight now is JIT freight (Just In Time. The company wants it there when they're ready to use it.) When we were running Dallas to Blythe, we'd pick up between 9 and 10pm, run maybe four hours, and could have sat at the truck stop until 2 in the afternoon and still been early.

Some of our customers will not accept delivery more than one hour before the scheduled appointment time. If that load doesn't deliver for three days after being picked up, and you either don't have a yard near the delivery, or the customer won't allow it to be dropped in a yard, that team is going to be sitting around twiddling their thumbs, possibly for over 24 hours. And since it's not sitting at a customer, or a delay caused by the customer, they don't get paid for not driving.



posted on Aug, 3 2019 @ 01:16 PM
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originally posted by: seasonal
a reply to: Zaphod58

Free market will solve this.

Pay'em and they will drive.
: "'That's not the free market we are looking for'" ....



posted on Aug, 3 2019 @ 07:48 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

That twiddling of the thumbs is the primary reason I stopped driving. Every company I drove for found out quickly that I was the guy who would deliver the load on time, every time, no matter what, when another driver dropped the ball. So guess who wound up sitting just in case a load became critical?

Drivers are paid by the mile. When I get the last 100 miles of a 1500 mile load because the guy who messed up (and got 14 times the pay I did) wasn't dependable, it's just not worth it. At the best, I could pull in $800-$900 a week net, but that included running loose-leaf logs (aka running "outlaw"), being away from home 90% of the time, dealing with DOT regulations, state regulations/laws, shipper/receiver regulations, which are usually at odds with each other, bad directions (a 40-ton, 13'-6" high vehicle cannot fit where your Toyota can), wasted time because someone in a warehouse thinks I have all day, the high cost of living on the road (semis don't get to stop by whatever store they want), and fighting some of the most idiotic traffic I can imagine. Then computerized logs became the norm and that was it... if I can't make a living at it, I'm not going to do it.

There was a day when truck drivers were both respected and well-paid. That day is long gone. Today, watch out for that big truck, because for all you know the guy driving it is doing so because he can't hold any other job. A few of the good drivers are left, but they're becoming rarer every day.

And if you ever see the word "Swift" on the truck... give it a wide, wide berth!

TheRedneck



posted on Aug, 3 2019 @ 08:42 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I see, that makes a lot of sense. I'm familiar with JIT processes but I hadn't really thought about how that applies to truck drivers.



posted on Aug, 3 2019 @ 09:28 PM
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a reply to: Aazadan

A more experienced solo driver is going to see somewhere around 3,000 miles a week, if they push really hard. If everything breaks their way, they can max out around 3200. But realistically a solo is looking at somewhere around 2,000-2500 a week.

We're on a run now that's slightly stressful, but works out perfectly. Pick up Tuesday on the West Coast, deliver Wednesday night on the East Coast, pick up early Thursday, back to the West Coast by Friday night, pick up Saturday and sit in Arizona all day to get resets, and reverse it the following week.



posted on Aug, 3 2019 @ 10:15 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

That is honestly nuts. When I think of driving cross country I think of it in terms of 5 to 6 days. I know it's generally about just under a 40 hour drive (depending on starting and destination points), but doing that in under 2 days, and then turning around and doing it again... that seems rough. Given what you said about mileage, I guess the pay for that works out great, as I assume that should be about 5300 miles or so in a week, but well... you weren't kidding about running hard.



posted on Aug, 3 2019 @ 10:30 PM
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a reply to: Aazadan

We can fit three trips a week if everything breaks right, so just under 5900 miles. The Eastbound trips are brutal, because we pick up between 0500 and 0600 in California, and have until 2359 the following night to deliver. Allowing for required 30 minute breaks, and driver swaps, that doesn't give us a lot of time to play with. Another year or so and we're done. The money is good, but only because I'm a contractor. Base driver pay is still stuck in the early 80s, and the regulation and stress has done nothing but get worse. And most of the regulations are written by people that have never been closer to a truck than passing one on the road.
edit on 8/3/2019 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 4 2019 @ 02:59 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

In the Netherlands we had the same shortage of truckers and with the opening of European borders that gap has been filled pretty quick with people from lower wage countries (eastern Europe) who are happy to work for less.

Peace



posted on Aug, 4 2019 @ 04:22 AM
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a reply to: operation mindcrime

We had the same thing happening under NAFTA. Mexican drivers and Mexican trucks were being used to deliver US freight. The problem wasn't that they were Mexican; I'll compete with a Mexican driver any day of the week. The problem was that the drivers were unfamiliar with US law and regulations, and the trucks were far too often in bad states of disrepair. The US DOT looked the other way because they didn't want to violate NAFTA.

I drove for Celadon for a while; they specialize in international transportation, with a Mexican division and regular trips into Canada. Every item that came back across the border, be it a trailer or what have you, had to undergo a thorough inspection. Most of the time, lights would be missing. Sending one over with new tires and getting it back with tires so thin you could see the air circulating in them was common. Missing brake parts was a regular thing. After some drugs were found in one set of tires, every axle had to have the tires removed and remounted. Also, every single load had to be weighed at an official CAT scale before leaving, regardless of weight on the bills. Mexicans had this habit of writing one number down and actually loading another one, sometimes to the point of being illegal. The average truck/trailer can handle around 40,000 pounds of freight; they had loads marked as 20,000 pounds but which scaled out to 50,000. If the truck weighs in too much at a DOT scale, that ticket is on the driver, not the company

TheRedneck



posted on Aug, 4 2019 @ 07:56 AM
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a reply to: TheRedneck

When we'd run to Laredo it wasn't uncommon for that to happen to us. When I was training with Werner we had to pick up a load that was supposed to have arrived the previous day. That truck had failed inspection so they sent another one to take its place. That truck took 8+ hours to pass inspection, and had a laundry list of issues that was like something out of a bad training video.



posted on Aug, 6 2019 @ 02:57 PM
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In Australia they have some old equipment from the 50's still on the road hauling cattle.
Just a polished steel nub where the throttle peddle used to be.
Don't have to move it much for about ten miles till the next double clutch anyways.
Not exactly skilled labor required there except for the maintenance.



posted on Aug, 8 2019 @ 01:23 PM
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originally posted by: operation mindcrime
a reply to: Zaphod58

In the Netherlands we had the same shortage of truckers and with the opening of European borders that gap has been filled pretty quick with people from lower wage countries (eastern Europe) who are happy to work for less.

Peace


Canada (Ontario specifically) is similar to this. We've seen a massive influx of immigrant drivers, which in itself isn't a bad thing. However, the vast majority of these people have a bare minimum of training, and very little experience in a big truck. Like the Redneck said, these trucks are generally in awful shape, team driven by up to 4 guys who are known to share a license.

In Ontario, it's required 132 hours of training just to attempt your AZ test, which has to be done at an approved school for between $8-10,000. Where these inner city companies are getting away with it, is to open their own "school" and issue licenses with at translator.

I don't drive often, but when I do it's almost always rural. I'd like to add that when we run heavy we're grossing around 140,000lbs, primarily pulling grain or fertilizer.



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