How is E-Commerce Affecting Truck Drivers?
It’s no secret that online shopping has become one of the more popular ways for customers to get the products they want. This alternative to shuffling through a traditional brick and mortar establishment saves shoppers time and hassle, and it also gives them access to a larger range of products to choose from. But while consumers may be benefiting from this type of change, not everyone is reaping similar benefits. Truck drivers who are responsible for taking products to retail stores in bulk to be sold to the masses have found that the boom in e-commerce has affected their line of work significantly. And though some may find work as deliverers for online goods, this type of job isn’t always the most favorable.
Statistics continue to indicate that online shopping is not just a trend – it is a huge step in the evolution of commerce. But online purchases are usually shipped out to recipients via services like UPS or FedEx. This means that less products are shipped out to stores for traditional purchases. While truckers can still get work as online commerce isn’t fitting for certain types of products, it’s hard to deny that online shopping has caused the trucking industry to take a hit in terms of the amount of work offered. And while some may think that truckers can find new work by delivering online products directly to recipients, this isn’t as lucrative as it may seem.
Longtime trucker Mark Eaves recently recounted his experience delivering a product to a customer who had ordered it online. Truckers are used to driving on interstate highways or, at the very least, adequately-sized main roads. But delivering directly to residential locations requires drivers to maneuver down crowded streets full of parked cars and pedestrians. Given that the terrain is not specifically designed for loading and unloading either, it should come as no surprise that the veteran trucker had difficulties with this job.
The changes aren’t all bad, however. Shipping companies that provide big business for truckers have streamlined their operations utilizing online methods. This steady stream of work helps the industry, but it doesn’t completely compensate for the fact that some jobs have been lost with the e-commerce boom. Time will tell whether or not these changes will level out, or if the trucking industry will need to evolve in order to continue in its role as an important aspect of the economy.