3 Things Your Business Can Do About the California Truck Driver Shortage

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The California truck driver shortage has affected businesses across the state and the country. 

With so many major ports and freight infrastructure in the Golden State, this truck driver shortage has wide-ranging effects. It’s also complex, with no single issue serving as a simple cause to be directly resolved.

Has the California truck driver shortage already influenced your business? Could it do so in the future? Let’s review what led to the current shortage. Then, we’ll look at ways to adjust your operations.

What Caused the Truck Driver Shortage in California?

The current truck driver shortage has many contributing factors. Some of the most important include:

High Freight Demand

High demand is the ultimate cause of the lack of available commercial drivers for trucks. There is more work than there are active truck drivers (although not open driver jobs). This factor is itself influenced by many others — there isn’t just one answer.

Supply Chain Shifts and Disruptions

Several stacks of shipping containers sit in an intermodal port.

Disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, along with changes in consumer spending, have both contributed to the shortage. While these issues didn’t directly decrease the number of drivers, they slowed down operations and increased demand.

Worker Shortages

Shawn Yadon, CEO of the California Trucking Association, told Fox Business that truck drivers are an aging population. That makes them more likely to leave the workforce by retiring.

However, the exact cause of this issue has been disputed. Land Line, a publication of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, shared comments from Gene Seroka, Port of LA Executive Director, to that effect. 

Sekora said the lack of drivers at his port stems from a shortage of good jobs as opposed to a shortage of qualified drivers. In other words, truckers are leaving the industry because of problems with compensation and quality of life. Pay increases and similar adjustments could help retain drivers and reduce turnover rates.

Issues Stemming from State Laws

California Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) drastically changes the way trucking companies operate in the state. Now a law, the bill significantly limits the definition of an independent contractor

Multichannel Merchant explains this change in classification has caused serious issues in the trucking industry and the supply chain.

Container Chassis Shortage

Although its effects are mostly limited to drayage and short-haul trucking, the container chassis shortage is another issue preventing drivers of container trucks from completing a task. 

Without an available chassis, a driver can’t complete their work. While there’s technically not a shortage of truck drivers in this scenario, the end result is the same. It becomes more difficult and takes longer to pick up and deliver a load.

What Your Business Can Do About the California Truck Driver Shortage

Adjusting to the 2023 truck driver shortage isn’t an easy task for most businesses with trucking and drayage needs. That said, there are things you can do to help your company make positive changes around the way its freight is handled. Here are a few of our suggestions:

1. Plan for Uncertainty

Whenever possible, keep the California truck driver shortage in mind as part of strategic planning. Try to build in time for delays and other issues that can slow the delivery of your inventory, parts, or whatever other freight your company counts on receiving. Track shipments and update plans for that inventory if and when the estimated arrival changes.

It’s not possible for any individual company to change the truck driver shortage. However, your business can make adjustments that acknowledge the reality of the situation and reduce the pain used by it.

2. Keep Track of Updates and Changes

Certain issues driving the truck driver shortage, like AB5, are unfortunately settled — at least for now. However, there are many other concerns that are much more flexible. 

Congestion at the Port of LA, for example, significantly decreased toward the end of 2022 and into 2023. Freightwaves explains ship queues are back to normal or near-normal levels at all US ports.

3. Find the Best Possible Partner

It always makes sense to have a dependable, trustworthy, and consistent partner for transporting freight. In the face of the California truck driver shortage, it’s even more important.

At Iraheta Bros., we’re committed to providing reliable drayage and warehousing services. We’ve successfully managed the challenges the driver shortage has thrown at us, and continue to deliver for all of our partners.

Work with Iraheta Bros – Request a Quote Today!

3 Things Your Business Can Do About the California Truck Driver Shortage

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