Lack of truckers can be solved by improving working conditions and not only
Supply chain experts appealed with a request to the US Department of Commerce. They want to take charge of solving the problem with the lack of truckers that “is on the record level”.
At a meeting on Wednesday, the Office of International Trade’s Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness (ACSCC) with 45 members voted to recommend the department “take the lead in coordinating federal agencies to immediately address the drivers` shortage that threatens the efficiency of critical national supply chains”.
In a draft letter to Trade Minister Gina Raimondo, the committee noted that the pandemic highlighted the importance of cargo transportation for the country’s economy.
“Supply chains played a critical role in the immediate response to the crisis and they are now even more important as the country develops stable, diverse and secure supply chains for the transition of critical goods in the future,” the letter says. “Effective freight transport is a critical link for internal transportation and distribution between our air, sea and land ports.”
ACSCC has several recommendations to the Ministry of Trade:
• Facilitate the learning process to become an interstate truck driver by expanding the demographic groups drew by this profession and increasing driver`s training programs.
• Improve the quality of working conditions for drivers by solving the problem with parking shortages and safety concerns.
“Various departments are already doing this, and the Senate Infrastructure Bill also states that”. Anne Strauss-Wieder, Chair of the ACSCC Human Resource Development Subcommittee, said this to the expert group.
The Senate Bill includes new funds for teaching drivers under the age of 21 and creating a new council in the Ministry of Transport aimed at increasing the number of women-truckers.
However, ACSCC member Michael Podue turned down offers to hire younger drivers.
“I am concerned about a person under the age of 21 getting behind the wheel of a vehicle weighing 80 000 pounds without proper training,” he said. “I don’t want a person of 18 or 19 years old in a vehicle that drives around the country in any area and in any weather. I am concerned about the safety aspect”.