How The Truck Driver Shortage Is Impacting The Trucking Industry

The trucking industry has always been the lifeblood of Canada’s economy.  The flow of goods and materials across the country keeps businesses running and helps to ensure that Canadians have the supplies they need. However, even this pillar of the Canadian economy is not immune to change. One of the most pressing issues currently facing the trucking industry is a shortage of drivers.

By the end of 2021, the industry had already logged a shortage of as many as 23,000 drivers. Just last month, industry representatives met with federal officials to share an even more alarming number—a projected shortage of up to 55,000 drivers by the end of 2023.

Needless to say, the lack of drivers is having a ripple effect throughout the trucking industry and it’s impacting businesses and consumers alike. To fully understand the extent of the driver shortage and how it’s affecting the trucking industry—keep on reading. 

How the Shortage Happened

At the heart of this issue are several complex factors that vary across different regions and companies. In some cases, the driver shortage is made worse by an aging workforce and a lack of qualified young people to take their place. In others, it’s simply a matter of too much demand and not enough drivers to meet it.

Just how severe is the shortage? Data gleaned from Canada’s Labour Market Information indicates the following:

  • There are nearly 23,000 vacant truck driver positions in Canada.
  • 61% of employers report having difficulty filling driver positions.
  • 7.4% of all truck driver jobs are vacant.

The Impact of Truck Driver Shortage On Businesses

The truck driver shortage has led to a number of challenges for businesses, particularly those that rely heavily on the trucking industry to move their goods and supplies.

Here are a few ways in which the driver shortage has impacted businesses:

Shipping Delays & Major Disruption Of The Supply Chain

One of the most immediate impacts of the driver shortage has been shipping delays. With fewer drivers on the road, there are simply not enough trucks to move all the goods that need to be shipped. This has led to delays in receiving supplies, which can impact businesses of all sizes.

In some cases, the delays have been so severe that they have disrupted the entire supply chain. This is particularly true for businesses that rely on Just-In-Time (JIT) inventory, which is a system where goods are only produced or shipped when they are needed.

While the trucking industry has been able to maintain a high level of service, for the most part, the driver shortage has led to some businesses having to make changes to their operations.

Decreased Efficiency

Despite its ubiquity in the Canadian economy, the trucking industry is a highly competitive one. Carriers are always looking for ways to cut costs and offer the most competitive rates. The driver shortage has made this difficult because, with fewer drivers on the road, trucks are often forced to travel long distances to pick up and deliver their loads. This not only leads to increased fuel costs but also puts additional wear and tear on the trucks.

All of these factors have a direct impact on businesses and their bottom line. In some cases, the increased costs associated with the driver shortage are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. In others, businesses are forced to absorb the costs, which can lead to decreased profits.

Are There Any Solutions Available For The Truck Driver Shortage?

Without a doubt, the truck driver shortage is a complex problem that will require a multi-faceted solution. Here are a few ideas and ongoing solutions that can help mitigate the truck driver shortage:

An Amplified Recruitment Campaign

One of the most obvious solutions to the truck driver shortage, of course, is to simply recruit more drivers. However, this is easier said than done. This is why the Trucking Alliance of Canada is asking for federal support to help attract more candidates. They believe that a well-funded recruitment campaign would help to address the driver shortage and allow the industry to continue to thrive.

As a response, the Alberta government has undertaken an initiative called the Driving Back to Work Grant Program (DBTW). With this, unemployed Albertans can have an opportunity to start careers as commercial truck drivers through access to funding to take the Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program to earn a Class 1 driver’s license.

Enticing More Women To Join The Trucking Industry

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While male truck drivers still make up the vast majority of the workforce, there has been a slight increase in the number of women joining the industry in recent years. Data from Trucking HR Canada shows that approximately 97,000 women work in Canada’s trucking and logistics industry. However, most of them work in either shipping and receiving, or in administration. Data shows that only 10% work as commercial truck drivers and less than 5% are in a management or supervisor position

To help entice more women to make their mark in the trucking industry, Alberta’s government announced they were investing $3 million to help support women who are seeking job opportunities in the transportation sector. As part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan, the province seeks to help reduce labor shortages in the commercial trucking industry with skills training and employment grants

“Women are an essential part of Alberta’s workforce and their accomplishments contribute to our success. I am very pleased this Budget 2022 grant will open doors to a career many thought was not achievable. Alberta needs trailblazers.” said Alberta’s Minister of Transportation — Rajan Sawhney, back in March.

Through a combination of supporting individual Class 1 driver’s license training, program development tailored to women, and promoting new career choices in transportation, the $3-million grant will provide women with new skills to achieve success in the industry.

“We applaud the Government of Alberta and its ongoing commitment to women and Women Building Futures. Providing opportunities for women to become professional commercial truck drivers is turning economic security from a dream into a reality for many women and will help our province prosper,” added Carol Moen, president and CEO of Women Building Futures.

Where Does The Trucking Industry Go From Here?

It’s evident that the truck driver shortage has a significant impact on the trucking industry. However, with ongoing initiatives and solutions in place, there is hope that the industry will be able to weather this storm. What’s important now is for everyone in the industry to work together to find the best way forward. Only then can the trucking industry continue to thrive in spite of the challenges it currently faces.

With the government backing programs to help with the driver shortage, there might just be hope for Canada’s economy to get back on track. Do you want to be a part of the solution? Contact Gennaro Transport Training. We offer a wide range of courses that will give you the skills and experience you need to succeed in the trucking industry. Give us a call today to learn more about our program and how we can help you get started in your new career.

Severe Weather Preparedness Week: Tips on How Truck Drivers Can Stay Safe on the Road

In Canada, there are over 160,000 vehicle accidents every year.

If that number alone does not inspire you to take extra caution when driving, allow us to put it this way: that is one accident – whether by collision, rollover, or jackknife – every three minutes. Of those, 30% are environment and weather-related.

So as some parts of the world move into Severe Weather Preparedness Week, we also want to make sure that we’re taking a look at how truck drivers can stay safe on the road. Especially as the weather showdown between winter and spring looms, it’s important to remind ourselves what this week represents: safety in severe weather conditions.

Blizzards, ice storms, flash flooding – all of these present unique risks for those behind the wheel. So, in order to help keep you safe during this potentially hazardous time, we’ve put together a few tips for truck drivers preparing for severe weather.

Severe Weather Conditions You’re Likely to Encounter on the Road With The Ever Changing Weather In Alberta

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As a truck driver, you may face a number of severe weather conditions on the road, especially when you consider the radical climate changes in Alberta.

Blizzards

A blizzard is an intense snowstorm characterized by strong winds and very low temperatures. Visibility can be reduced to near zero at times, making it extremely dangerous to drive in. If caught in a blizzard while driving, pull over and wait for it to pass.

Ice Storms

An ice storm is a winter weather event that occurs when freezing rain coats surfaces with a thick layer of ice. This can make driving extremely hazardous, as icy roads can cause vehicles to lose control or even skid off the road. Always slow down when driving in an ice storm, and be especially careful when turning or braking.

Flash Flooding

Although flash flooding in Alberta is not likely, Flash flooding can occur suddenly and without warning, making it a particularly dangerous weather event to encounter while driving. When flash flooding is occurring, do not attempt to drive through water that is deeper than the height of your vehicle’s headlights – you could easily lose control and be swept away.

Strong Winds

High winds can cause problems for both truck drivers and their vehicles. Not only can high winds make it difficult to drive, but they can also result in downed trees or power lines, as well as flying debris. If you find yourself caught in a windstorm while driving, pull over and wait until the storm has passed.

Extreme Heat

Extreme heat can be just as dangerous as extreme cold. It can affect both your truck and your body, leading to problems like dehydration, heatstroke, tire blowouts, and engine strain. When driving in extreme heat, be sure to stay hydrated and take breaks often to avoid overheating. You may also want to consider driving in the early morning or evening when temperatures are cooler.

How To Stay Safe During Severe Weather

1. Check the Weather Forecast Before Heading Out

Many phone apps now offer hour-by-hour weather updates that can give you a good idea of when the worst of the storm will hit. It’s also a good idea to check local news outlets and trucking websites for updates and alerts. If possible, try to plan your route around the worst of the weather.

2. Give Yourself Extra Time

When severe weather is on the horizon, it’s always a good idea to give yourself a few extra hours to get to your destination. This way, if you do run into some bad weather, you won’t be putting yourself under unnecessary pressure to get where you’re going on time.

Of course, we know that isn’t always possible. If you find yourself short on time, make sure to take extra care and drive slower than usual. Your cargo may be time-sensitive, but it’s not always worth putting your life at risk.

3. Drive Defensively

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This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to remember that defensive driving is always the best way to stay safe on the road – especially when severe weather is involved.

In general, you should be leaving plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. This will give you more time to react if they make a sudden stop. You should also be aware of what’s going on around you at all times, and be prepared to adjust your speed or route if necessary.

4. Pack an Emergency Kit

The last thing you want is to be stranded on the side of the road during a severe weather event.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to have an emergency kit packed and ready to go. This should include things like food, water, blankets, warm clothes, a first-aid kit, and anything else you might need in case you find yourself in a bind.

You should also make sure you have a charged cell phone with you at all times, so you can call for help if necessary.

5. Check Your Truck

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Before you hit the road, it’s always a good idea to give your truck a once-over and make sure everything is in working order.

This includes checking your tires, brakes, lights, and wipers. If you’re driving in bad weather, you don’t want anything to go wrong with your truck – that could lead to a very dangerous situation.

Stay Safe & Prepared at All Times

Truck drivers are on the front lines when it comes to severe weather – they’re the ones who have to keep Canada moving, no matter what Mother Nature throws their way. That’s why it’s so important for truckers to be prepared for whatever conditions they might encounter on the open road. 

If you want to learn more about severe weather preparedness, or if you’re looking to become a professional truck driver, we offer a variety of courses that can help you stay safe and prepared. For more information, visit our website or give us a call today. Stay safe out there!

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