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The Capacity Crunch is Real: Are You Ready?

By Lisa Sursavage

The trucking industry continues to see a growing capacity crunch – and you may be feeling it. When we look at capacity issues, we think long-term. Houston may have felt less of a capacity crunch during the energy downturn. However, we advise you to ignore the cyclical peaks and valleys. Instead, look at long-term trends:

  • Demographics: The average age of a truck driver in the United States is in his or her mid-50s. Near term, the American Trucking Association is predicting a shortage of 50,000 drivers.
  • Growing demand: According to American Trucking Association Chief Economist, Bob Costello: “We experienced a freight recession last year, which eased the pressure on the driver market…Now that freight volume is accelerating again, we should expect to see a significant tightening of the driver market.”
  • Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate: We’ve been talking about this for years. Now it’s here. The ELD mandate takes effect on December 18, 2017. Jetco installed ELDs in 2008 - we’re ready. A concerning number of carriers, however, are not ready, and this will further tighten capacity. Consider the following:
    • Multiple legal challenges to the ELD mandate have been rejected, further cementing the December 2017 deadline.
    • 45.5% of carriers haven’t even made plans for implementation, and 11% haven’t even begun investigating.
    • Trucks.com estimates there are still 1 million trucks without an ELD, and drivers of those trucks “will be forced to adopt and learn the technology during the busiest part of the year.”
    • Carriers who will have to implement ELDs will lose productivity and have to increase rates to stay in business

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