The economic growth over the past six months has increased the need for freight transportation, but the industry is facing a lack of drivers.
The trucking industry is encountering a 50,000 truck driver shortage, according to a report by the American Trucking Association. It's is the lifeblood of the economy, connecting production with commerce. If there is a breakdown in the industry, the economic chain could be compromised.
The growth in the economy has caused a surge in production to meet consumer needs.
“Business is great,” said Andrea Curreri who is the President of Bluff Manufacturing in Fort Worth. “We have tripled in size, and we’re building new locations.”
Bluff Manufacturing, like every business in the country, depends on the trucking industry to distribute their goods.
“In one day, between Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston there are more than 18,000 loads that are in need of carriers and drivers,” said Vice President of North American Transport Concepts Cori Eckley.
As a truck broker, her job is to coordinate find drivers and coordinate transportation and distribution. According to Eckley, the supply of drivers has not kept in pace with the rising demand.
The latest news from around North Texas.
"We've been seeing this for several years, but it has gotten worse over the past six months. Obviously we're seeing an increase because of the economic boom," Eckley said. "It’s great for business but we're also seeing the negative. We need more drivers.”
The driver shortage will also drive up consumer costs.
“The higher labor costs will impact transportation costs, which will then be absorbed by the consumer," Eckley said. "Food, furniture, clothing, construction, appliances could start to cost us more.”
Desperate to haul freight and fill orders, trucking companies are increasing pay and incentives for drivers, which can include big bonuses, benefit packages, and compensation for living expenses.
“The drivers we have now are working at 100 percent. The longer it takes to find a driver, the longer it takes to fill an order," she said. "That time builds up.”