Since its inception, e-commerce has impacted trucking. E-commerce has caused businesses to adjust operations to cater to the demand of faster deliveries and shorter hauls, and now, studies are showing that it’s impacting the driver shortage as well. The question truckload carriers should be asking is: Is this the impact the industry needs?
The Immediate Impact
One of the challenges the trucking industry faces is quality of life for drivers. The truckload sector features an average haul of 500 miles a trip, and while this number has fallen substantially since 2000, it still does not compare to the shorter hauls a delivery driver makes on a day-to-day basis. A major concern is that this benefit could lure drivers away from truckload carriers, further exacerbating turnover rates.
Long Term Benefits
Is this a training opportunity? Laws prohibit drivers under the age of 21 from participating in interstate operations, meaning truckload positions aren’t an option. Young truckers could use local hauls from e-commerce as training opportunities, allowing them to gain the necessary driving experience needed for longer hauls in the truckload sector. Companies that remain flexible and add services for the final mile can benefit from developing a home-grown population of younger drivers.
As the last mile segment of the industry continues to grow, companies will need to keep an eye on how it effects the growing driver shortage – for better or worse.