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Australia A shortage of truck drivers in Tasmania and nationally is causing major challenges

02:50  16 may  2021
02:50  16 may  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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Once they begin driving , they discover the trucking industry has a history of treating drivers unfairly and paying them low wages. Truck Driver Shortage in US + Canada. Statistics show that there is a shortage of truck drivers for the year 2019. Much of what the trucking companies are doing to work with the trucker shortage , can be viewed as temporary fixes. The fixes offer no long-term solution for the problems causing the driver shortage . Then What WILL Solve the Shortage of Truck Drivers ?

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A national shortage of truck drivers is causing "major challenges" as demand to move goods across Australia continues to rise, unabated by the pandemic.

a person standing in front of a truck: Tasmanian truck driver Tate Vanderfeen says being a truck driver has allowed him to see some incredible sunsets and be his own boss. (ABC Rural: Lachlan Bennett) © Provided by ABC NEWS Tasmanian truck driver Tate Vanderfeen says being a truck driver has allowed him to see some incredible sunsets and be his own boss. (ABC Rural: Lachlan Bennett)

The shortage is leading to increased competition for drivers across state lines and with industries outside the freight and logistics sector.

Tasmanian Transport Association executive director Michelle Harwood said her state alone could absorb another 100 truck drivers "at a minimum".

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The shortage is compounded by an aging workforce, which Ms Harwood said was "the oldest workforce in Tasmania".

"Around 82 per cent of the land freight task falls to road and the trucks need somebody to drive them," she said.

"They simply don't drive themselves."

'Our average age of a driver is in their 50s and so we’ve got a lot of drivers who will be retiring over the next 10 to 15 years," she said.

"At the same time we’ve got a really big increase in the freight task."

Need for the next generation

The industry is hoping it can attract more young people, such as Devonport driver Tate Vanderfeen.

The 24-year-old got his start through a school-based apprenticeship and loves seeing the picturesque landscapes of Tasmania while driving trucks for De Bruyn's Transport.

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The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates that the U.S. is short 30,000 truck drivers . Factors driving the shortfall include regulations, relatively low pay, and the fact that fewer young people are interested in getting into the profession. Ninety percent of carriers said they couldn't find enough drivers Costello says the cold weather could have limited turnover, which could rise as the economy improves and higher freight volumes put more pressure on the market. What's causing the shortage ? Many large and small carriers didn't survive the financial crisis and independent cntractors lost their

"I get to see some pretty cool sunrises, sunsets. I see a lot of the coast that you don't normally see," he said.

"It's pretty fun and always changing. It's something different every day."

The opportunity to "be your own boss, almost" attracted Mr Vanderfeen to the profession and he doesn't know why more young people don't give truck driving a go.

SRT Logistics serves the Tasmanian and Victorian markets and HR and compliance manager Joanne Tye said they were "constantly on the lookout for good, qualified, experienced drivers".

"The work is abundant. There is so much work."

"It's not only us as a business but right across the industry," she said.

The Western Australian government is also trying to tackle the problem, with a $6.1 million program to develop up to 1,000 new skilled drivers announced in February.

The state's mining industry is particularly hungry for drivers and Ms Harwood said some companies were offering "good incentives" to secure new drivers.

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The truck driver shortage has dominated America's headlines in the logistics space this year. The US will be short 175,000 truck drivers by 2026, according to the American Trucking Associations. With Transfix, for instance, a driver who drives from Chicago to New York every week might be pinged while moving through Harrisburg, Pennsylvania about jobs in New York — eight hours before he or she arrives. 2. The majority of drivers spend three or more hours at shipper docks every time they arrive.

America is experiencing a shortage of truck drivers . The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates that the U.S. is short 30,000 truck drivers . 90% of carriers said they couldn't find enough drivers that met department of transportation (DOT) criteria, according to a study cited by the ATA. The turnover rate at large truckload carriers was 92% annualized in Q1, and was above 90% for the ninth straight quarter, according to the ATA.

Freight operators, such as Bruce Davey of Webster Trucks, are also crying out for more mechanics to service their fleet.

"The critical shortage of mechanical tradepersons is compromising the ability of heavy vehicle operators to meet the growing demands of the Tasmanian transport industry," he said.

Keep them on the road

While industry leaders mull initiatives to attract new talent, the industry's training and safety protocols could prevent older drivers from exiting the field.

TruckSafe is an industry accreditation organisation that aims to improve the safety and professionalism of drivers across Australia.

Chair Ferdie Kroon said while safety initiatives can be met with "a little bit of pushback" from long-term employees, they were designed to keep workers safe and ensure "their longevity in the workplace".

"We build those control measures to protect our drivers, our yard operators, our admin and logistics people and all the road users from incident and accident," he said.

"That ensures those risk are well controlled and that encourages a lot more people to be part of the industry and to see us as being good road users."

For some people, a career on the open road can be long and prosperous; Mr Kroon said he knows one driver in his 70s who still works the odd shift.

"They're casual drivers still driving around and doing a fantastic job," he said.

"And that's because the TruckSafe scheme protects them as well as encourages us to continue to work with them later in their lives so they can still enjoy driving."

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usr: 1
This is interesting!