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As shippers brace for peak season delays, one trucking company's driver shortage may be another company's opportunity. The $64,000 question: Is there actually a driver shortage or simply a shortage of jobs potential drivers would want?
A closer look at the much-publicized shortage of long-haul truck drivers reveals that the shortage is not monolithic and means different things to different trucking companies.
And industry analysts are starting to say that the shortage may be overstated, at least for the short term.
The difficulty hiring drivers that some trucking companies undeniably are experiencing was quantified recently in a Global Insight analysis commissioned by American Trucking Associations. The analysis placed the existing, national driver shortage at about 20,000, or 1.5 percent of the 1.3 million long-haul drivers it counted in 2004.
Undermined by demographic trends--the drop-off in the population of white males, aged 35 to 54, who make up half of all truck drivers, the slowdown in growth of the overall workforce and the retirement of older truckers--the driver deficit will rise to 111,000 in the next decade unless something changes, the analysis found. That indicates the driver pool could look much different in 10 years, as employers reach out to minorities, especially Hispanics, and women drivers.
But with suggestions that smaller truckload carriers are adding capacity ahead of demand (see story, page …