High turnover rates and driver shortages have long plagued the trucking industry in the US.
The currently strong economy actually makes the driver shortage problem worse. The nation’s 2017 Q2 GDP growth rate of 3% means that more goods are being produced and shipped. The trucks are there, but the drivers are not. National carriers such as JB Hunt are experiencing increasing percentages of open trucks in its fleet; meaning that there is demand for freight movement, but there are no drivers.
Watco isn’t immune to these trends. There are currently multiple opportunities for experienced drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL), especially in the St. Louis, Missouri, area with Watco’s St. Louis terminal. To entice applicants, the terminal is offering dedicated, local routes with structured eight to 10-hour shifts.
St. Louis Terminal Manager, Ed Diemert believes that these routes benefit their drivers.
“You can get into a routine. You know what you’re doing every day,” Diemert said. “Obviously, the big selling point is time home. We hope that you know your schedule every day and know that you’ll be home with your family, drivers will like that.”
A recent article on Land Line Magazine’s website, a trucking trade publication, claimed that at least part of the driver shortage could be attributed to the fact that drivers are the most undervalued part of the trucking industry.
“Despite being the most important aspect of a trucking business, truck drivers are often an afterthought when it comes to many big fleets,” says staff writer Matt Schremmer.
Diemert disagrees with that sentiment.
“We value all of our drivers and our compensation reflects that,” Diemert. “Until we got this additional business, our lowest tenured driver was nine years. That shows that drivers stay with us after they start with us.”