The International Trade Administration’s Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness, a Department of Commerce advisory group, is calling on the federal government to address the US’s nationwide shortage of truck drivers, which they warn has been the worst it’s been.
The panel spoke in favor of truckers and logistics firms like Titan Transline, saying that effective truck transportation is the common link that connects air, sea, and land ports.
The panel, composed of 45 members, is endorsing for letting people aged under 21 to be interstate truckers, which is currently prohibited by US law. They’re calling on the Department of Commerce and the Department of Transportation to make domestic logistics easier such as addressing driver retention, training, and workplace concerns, improving ‘last-mile’ connectivity to bring workers to workplaces, among other such measure.
American Trucking Associations estimated that, while logistics firms like Titan Transline are in demand, there’s a shortage of at least 60,000 drivers. ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello, a member of the ITA panel, stated that this number will go up as more drivers retire at the same time as freight volumes go up.
Costello says that so many people in the trucking industry agree on the same thing says a lot about the matter. They know that they need to attract more people to the trucking industry, and improve conditions for those that are already in the field.
Notably, the US Senate advanced infrastructure legislation that permits younger drivers to operate Class 8 trucks across state lines, as long as they finish an extensive training program.
North New Jersey Transportation Planning Authority Director Anne Strauss-Wieder stated that there are a lot of opportunities for drivers in the US, but the problem is that people who are interested in the field have to wait until they’re 21 to get a career.
Among the letter’s many recommendations were an improvement for the US’s ports, improving travel times, and streamlining cross-border movement for freight at the Mexican and Canadian borders.
The letter stated that improving the US’s connections with Mexico and Canada would help shorten supply chains and promote domestic and near-shoring shifts. This will all contribute to improving the flow and speed of logistics going through US-Canada-Mexico ports of entry.