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At the end of each year, I like to take stock of the major freight transportation stories of the past twelve months and look ahead to the trends that will drive the industry in the coming year.  The two blogs that I write are prepared from my perspective as a consultant to shippers and carriers.

This year I would like to hear from you.  Those of you who follow this blog observe trends in your segment of the industry.  Please take a minute to share them with me.  Please post them on this blog or send a private e mail to dan@dantranscon.com

Please feel free to select any major trend or trends that are having or will have a major impact on our industry, whether regulatory, economic, technological, demographic, consumer behavior, environmental, modal shifts or business strategy.

To broaden the range of inputs and perspectives, I will also post this request on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  In the coming weeks I will be preparing my two lists.  The lists will include a blend of my observations and yours.  Look for these two blogs in mid-December.  Thank you to those of you who take the time to share your observations with me.

 

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Much has been written in recent years about the looming driver shortage in North America.  While there are still millions of people unemployed in Canada and the United States, only a limited number of people are willing to drive a truck for a living.  There are a range of issues that are creating this situation.  The driver lifestyle involves sitting in a rig for many hours a day and for certain assignments, being away from family for days or weeks on end.  This produces a set of challenges with respect to maintaining a healthy diet, performing regular exercise and achieving consistent sleep. 

Then there are the challenges of supporting a family at current compensation levels, the reductions in pay precipitated by the Great Recession and the new hours of service regulations that can restrict one’s income generating potential.  With annual driver turnover running at close to 90 percent, clearly quality freight transport drivers are being actively courted.  They are not hesitating to “jump ship” and provide their services to another organization if the “grass looks greener’” across the street.  The high turnover ratios suggest that many drivers are disillusioned after they make their selection and so the cycle of hiring and leaving keeps repeating itself. 

Most blogs and articles talk about how to recruit drivers.  Very few focus on helping drivers find the right trucking company to work for.  To address this question, I reached out to a panel of drivers with whom I have corresponded in the past.  The panel included Desiree Wood, Harry Rudolphs, Stephen Large and David Robson.  Listed below are a set of suggestions from the five of us. Hopefully these questions will help drivers make better employment decisions and reduce the costly turnover ratio.

There are two distinct groups of people to whom this blog is addressed.  The first group is those people who are considering a job as a professional truck driver.  Then there is the group of drivers who are currently seeking to change employers. 

A. People Considering Taking a Job as a Truck Driver

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I have been writing a blog on the transportation industry for five years.  During this period I have received hundreds of postings and e mails from readers.  Every now and then I receive an e mail that stands out.  This week I received a thoughtful and interesting e mail and article from a truck driver, David Robson.  In the article, he shares his thoughts on what trucking companies can do to improve driver retention and increase trucking company profits.  With permission, here is an edited version of the article.

 The Future of the Professional Driver

“I was looking up the top 50 trucking companies and reviewed a few of the well-known companies CSA scores from the FMCSA website.  I was surprised and disappointed with what I saw.  Many of these carriers advertise on the backs of their trailers, “We hire only safe and professional drivers.”   If you saw their CSA scores I would think that the owners would be embarrassed to display those signs.  Perhaps the owners are not aware of their scores.

The first thing I noticed was that many were near the 60% intervention score. The other common factor involved “Subject to Placardable HM Threshold.“

I found some violations that were commonly high among most of the carriers.

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