Americans are preparing for record increases in prices for transport services. The main reason is the lack of truckers.
According to recent reports, the demand for road transport services in the US market is still growing. This affects the rates of freight, which may register a record increase this year, mainly in the east and south of the USA.
The US institute dealing with transport market analysis, ACT Research, has recently announced that the For-Hire Trucking Index indicating the demand for transport services grew faster than the index of transport capacity in each of the 12 months of last year.
There are freights, but there are no drivers
The lack of trucks results in congestion of vessels waiting at sea container terminals. In particular, it affects the ports of New York and New Jersey, but on a smaller scale also Charleston, Jacksonville, Norfolk, Savannah, Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Memphis, and Houston, according to Flexport.
Rates must increase
According to the forecasts of the analysts from Broughton Capital LLC, who are developing CLI, this year’s rates will increase from 6 to 8 percent year on year. The analyst company Stifel expects this year an increase in the volume of road freight in the US by 2%, and of freight rates by 12%.
Tim Denoyer, vice president of ACT, admits:
Truckers are beginning the year 2018 with the best negotiating position they have had for many years.
Reasons for the crisis
The reason for this is, among others, better condition of the American economy and the growing volume of foreign trade. The fact of introducing tachographs in the USA is also significant. In December last year, despite the protests of American truckers, the so-called ELDs (Electronic Logging Devices) replaced their paper books.
According to American industry media, it is the lack of drivers that was the major factor leading to the transport crisis.
Shortage of drivers, a problem growing in importance
According to American Trucking Associations (ATA), the shortage of drivers is the most important problem for transport companies.
As estimated by ATA in 2017, the shortage of drivers amounted to 50,000, and if the current trend continues, it may increase to over 174,000 in 2026. There are several reasons for this: an increase in the average age of the professional group (currently 55 years old), low interest in the profession among young people, more and more stringent regulations on the industry, and demanding working conditions.
Similar situation in Europe
European carriers face a similar problem and tendency on the market. There are 100,000 drivers missing in Poland, 45 thousand in Germany, and 15 thousand in France. These numbers, however, can quickly increase due to the better economic situation and the aging of this professional group. In Austria and Germany, due to a shortage of staff in the transport industry, prices of services are already rising. The French also expect increases.