Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Cheering for Truckies

Image source: learnatboces.com

Here’s one you didn’t expect. Trucking (or in industry parlance, HGV for heavy goods vehicle). This item from drivershortage.co.uk – not a website I regularly visit – caught my eye because of the critical role distribution plays in the retail and ecommerce worlds. For all the talk of Amazon delivering by drones and autonomous vehicles, trucks are the backbone of most industries. There has been recent press (FOX, CNBC) in the US about there being more open trucking jobs than available commercial drivers. There are currently about 35,000 unfilled truck driver jobs in the US alone, predicted to increase to 200,000 by 2024. The situation is further pressured by older drivers returning in greater numbers. The recession says trucking volumes plummet but this just masked the issue of a long term labour shortage. As the economy continues to recover, the labor shortages are more acute.

In the UK the industry is exploding myths about trucking, for example:
  • Myth: Trucking is a dirty industry. 
  • Myth: Trucking is a sector dominated by men. 
  • Myth: Trucking is a lonely job. 
  • Myth: Trucking is moving pallets from A to B.
  • Myth: Trucking is a dying industry. 
  • Myth: The haulage sector is full - there are no jobs available. 
  • Myth: Trucking is a low paid job. 
“Truth: Trucking cannot die. If it were, how would products be transported to supermarkets? How would milk get from farms to dairies? How would cars get to dealerships without using excess mileage? Trains, planes and boats can take these so far but cannot deliver them to the end user as efficiently and cost effectively as trucks!”

So next time you get a package delivery, go to a supermarket, or have a meal at a restaurant, spare a moment for truck drivers. They played a role in your purchase satisfaction. Unsung heroes maybe, certainly a vital link in the supply chain, responsible for hauling 70% of all freight tonnage moved in the U.S. The romance of the road is less of a lure for most young people today as sexier jobs have come along, but if you know someone loves driving and meaningful work, give them a nudge. The world needs truck drivers.

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