Will the Trucker Shortage Impact Relief Efforts?
After a disastrous period for the U.S. in terms of natural disasters, rebuilding efforts are underway in multiple locations across the country.
Between the wildfires in the west and the massive hurricanes in the south, there are plenty of locations that need extra help. More specifically, those areas ravaged by Harvey and Irma need a plethora of supplies – and dedicated drivers to help make it happen.
Despite being stretched thin already, truck drivers have sprung into action. Heading to Florida and Texas, drivers are bringing along everything from food to water to clothing. Even generators and machinery are being moved to affected areas, providing temporary relief and assistance with rebuilding and stabilizing affected communities.
Some drivers are hired by their companies to handle these relief efforts, with many independent projects being launched to help. FEMA and other relief organizations also hire independent drivers to assist with these efforts. While things are rolling on, one has to wonder whether a long-running problem in trucking will hamper progress.
Truck driving has been scrambling to find enough workers over the past several years. Between regulatory changes in the field, slumping compensation, and general changes in the way Americans shop, the trucking industry is in a period of change.
While some steps have been taken to help freight carriers fill their rosters, disasters like the ones suffered in the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season thus far represent additional (and unforeseen) demand. The ongoing labor shortage could mean that rescue efforts will be a bit more strained than usual.
Two strong storms in such quick succession led to a terrifying amount of damage. It is estimated that about ten percent of trucking routes were disrupted, meaning the industry is feeling the effects as well even as they try to help.
Carriers and drivers are often selfless and willing to help in times of disaster, but a lack of roster depth could make it hard for them to do as much as usual. Several drivers have already made local and national news with the trouble they’ve run into trying to help. While any effort is appreciated, there may be a struggle to do enough given the circumstances the industry faces.