CHARLOTTE, N.C. — You could expect delays in your packages or even replenishment of your favorite items in store if trucking companies can’t hire more drivers. There’s a shortage nationwide.
According to the N.C Trucking Association, the state needs about 12,000 more truck drivers to keep up with current industry demands. If companies are unable to hire more drivers, that means current drivers will have to pick up the slack.
Driver Jamie Stines at Southeastern Freight says he sees up to three more loads a day because of shipping increases as a result of the pandemic. He’s been driving for almost three decades and has even worked out of state to help drivers in areas devastated by natural disaster continue their deliveries.
At the beginning of the pandemic, business at Southeastern Freight slowed down for about three weeks. But since then, drivers have been working full speed. He says the non-traditional work schedule is a reason for the shortage.
“What you’re seeing is not a lot of young people getting into this field. I know it’s not a nine to five. I think a lot of folks want the eight-hour shift and be done,” Stiness said.
Nationally, there will be a need for close to 200,000 truck drivers by 2026, according to the American Trucking Association.
Current drivers have seen incentives and bonus pay to offset the driver shortage. But for consumers and stores in need of the products, trucks delivering items could see delays in shipping.
”If we don’t have the workforce, things are just going to sit at the dock so they won’t be delivered that day it might be the next day or the day after,” Stines added.