More truckers won’t solve US port congestion, supply chain issues: Harbor Trucking Association CEO


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Companies are offering thousands of dollars in six-figure salaries, sign-on bonuses to attract, retain drivers

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As the US continues to feel the pain from supply chain disruptions, companies across the country are ramping up their incentives to attract new truck drivers, which include six-figure salaries and sign-on bonuses.

H&M Intermodal Services, which transports containers to and from marine terminals, rail ramps and distribution centers in the Northeast, is offering truckers up to $5,000 per week, or $260,000 per year, with a $3,000 sign-on bonus. During this, cisco, the world’s largest broadline food distributor, is offering a $15,000 sign-on bonus with a salary of $110,000 per year.

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The American Trucking Association estimates that the US is facing a shortage of approximately 80,000 truck drivers.

California port chief: ‘Fragile’ supply chain needs investment, to attract ‘full-court press’ workers

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Matt Schrappe, CEO of the Harbor Trucking Association, which oversees drivers at the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach and Oakland, Calif.; and Seattle and Tacoma, Washington told Granthshala Business that they have become a hot commodity amid the nation’s increase in import volume.

“If you have a commercial driver’s license and if you have experience and are able to safely operate a heavy duty vehicle like the one you are in demand, it doesn’t matter, because you need drivers. Is.” Shrap said. “The men and women who run these trucking companies and those who drive and are trying to grow their business are always on the lookout for qualified drivers”

Although salary increases and sign-on bonuses are primarily aimed at recruiting, Shrap points out that they are just as important to retain.

“They’re gonna follow a little money. If someone else is like, ‘Look, I’ll pay you more,’ chances are they’ll go there,” he said. “The whole point is this productivity. The more you get into port, the more money you’re going to make and you just want to keep these drivers happy.”

California trucking industry leader warns of labor shortages, ship backlog causing ‘perfect storm’

Although he acknowledged that most accidents are due to retiring truck drivers, he said the ATA’s shortfall figures pertain to over-the-road truck drivers, not porters. They estimate there are about 14,000 drivers who come to the Port of Long Beach once a day during a normal work week.

Ultimately, he believes the overall trucking industry is having trouble finding new blood as it has become a discredited profession.

“You get to blame for environmental issues, accidents, or overcrowding. I mean, it’s a thankless job sometimes, and I don’t think it’s high on people’s career radar because it’s not the sexy work that it is.” Used to be,” he said. “Instead of blaming the trucking industry for this backup, which is far from reality, we should celebrate these people as they are trying to get this cargo off the dock every day.”

“When you spend hours at the sea terminal waiting for the chassis, it’s hard to persuade people to come in,” he said. “It’s no tempting thing to sit in your truck waiting for hours. Drivers want to drive.”

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When it comes to addressing congestion at U.S. ports, Schropp says supply chain problems won’t be fixed simply by throwing more truck drivers into the mix.

“What’s become the real challenge here is just the massive amount of empty containers that are scattered all over Southern California, the Southwest, the Central Valley. It’s just become the curse of our members’ existence,” he explained. “They are sitting on top of chassis that cannot be used to pull imports out of the docks and the maritime terminal is unable to receive them. They do not have the ability to receive them because either they are out of space or the ones that are not. The deal they’ve had with steamship lines, they’ve told them to basically stop accepting certain types of containers… that’s probably, from our point of view, really the biggest problem.”

Curse blames steamship lines, which he says aren’t sending enough ships to help clean up empty containers.

“They keep sending fully efficient ships loaded with thousands of import containers which makes the job even more of a chore,” he said. “Retailers are doing their best to unload them into warehouses, but you as a trucking company are forced to make an appointment to pick up those containers and you need a chassis to move them. So if it’s sitting on the bottom of an empty container, you can’t use that chassis.”

Although the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles have announced that they will transition to 24/7 operations, Schropp said the real solution will be for the state and federal government to address the “passive” placement system at ports, A mitigation strategy to bring back large quantities of empty containers from where they came, find short-term space to unload empty containers from chassis and push for greater investment in infrastructure.

Meanwhile, he warned that as the holiday season approaches, products are going to get more expensive for consumers.

“These costs have to be borne. You cannot absorb them with the goodness of your heart,” he said. “And we’ve seen inflation issues. It’s directly related to shipping and the cost of goods.”

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