2021 was a busy year in the fleet industry, due to delayed cargo on the west coast of the United States. In November of the same year, California Governor, Gavin Newsom, assisted by authorizing the removal of containers from cargo lots to make room for loaded cargo. Crane operators still do not have enough cranes to carry in all the cargo, so there are still delays.
Before the pandemic, fleet drivers would wait up to two hours for their cargo to be loaded. Customer demand has increased dramatically since the start of the pandemic. This, along with the other strains mentioned, has caused drivers to wait up to 12 hours for their cargo to be loaded. This has led to additional fleet drivers quitting since they are paid per mile, not per hour. Fleet organizations have attempted to keep drivers by paying them a salary instead. Despite the salary change, a fleet driver shortage remains in effect.
The driver shortage existed long before the pandemic, but it has only grown over the past two years. The increased consumer demand since March 2020 has made work extra difficult for drivers. Back in March 2020, there was a shortage of 30 thousand drivers, but we are now looking at an 80 thousand driver shortage.
United States President, Joe Biden, is aware of the shortage and has incorporated drivers into his Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. The goal is to make it easier to become a trucker, improve the quality of life for truckers, and help drivers stay in the business longer.
Currently, employees need to be at least 21 years old to become a fleet driver. The bill would allow individuals from 18-20 years old to undergo training and hiring to become fleet drivers. Hiring drivers as young as 18 years will help decrease the driver shortage.
In addition, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will ensure drivers are safe while on duty by investing $40 billion towards bridge repairs. The goal is to have all the projects completed within the next 10 years.