Reported by Mike Hobson
October 27, 2021
Alabamians are reading about supply chain problems and stacked up cargo ships at major ports. News articles are blaming supply chain problems on shortages of labor at the ports and not enough available trucking to move the goods on hand.
Meanwhile we are seeing social media posts saying independent truckers won’t go to CA because of state regulations making it unreasonably tough on truckers. We are also seeing that NY and NEast Coast ports are being avoided by truckers. Some have suggested that only moving unloaded ships to Red State ports in the South is going to ease the situation.
The disruptions that are currently snarling supply chains across the globe and the United States will “certainly” continue into next year, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on Oct. 17.
About 250,000 containers of goods are currently stacked on the docks due to delayed pickups, from chassis shortages and a lack of space in railyards and warehouses, officials told the news outlet. And that’s causing dozens of ships to back up at anchor outside the port according to a story that just appeared in The Epoch Times.
We addressed our concerns with the supply chain problem to the Alabama Trucking Association and received the following response about the situation from Ford Boswell, Senior Advisor to the ATA.
‘Yes sir, all that is true.
A shortage of truck drivers, coupled with a rash of manufacturer closings due to the Delta variant that emerged last summer and into the early fall has exacerbated the already stressed world supply chain. It’s affecting all sectors of trucking.
To your other question, the California Trucking Association is challenging in court the 2019 law (AB5) that makes it difficult for trucking fleets to classify certain drivers as independent contractors, so that’s why you’re hearing about independent drivers refusing to go into California. In reality, it’s more that they can’t operate there under their current employment arrangements.
And lastly, the driver shortage is real. Nationally, the American Trucking Associations estimates that the industry needs 30,000 to 80,000 new drivers to meet demand. Here in Alabama, we estimate there is an immediate need for 3,000 to 5,000, give or take.
To alleviate the shortage, The ATA Foundation (Our Association’s nonprofit organization for workforce development and public image) recently raised a good amount of money to bring in an integrated marketing firm to create campaigns to attract job seekers to CDL and service technician programs at private and state community colleges and tech schools. We believe we that if we can fine tune and amplify our message we can show that trucking is an excellent career choice.
Total trucking industry wages paid in Alabama in 2019 exceeded $5.4 billion with an average annual salary of $48,920.
So, in short, our message is that trucking is hiring in Alabama, and we think we have a lot to offer job seekers in terms of long term stability and sustainable career growth.’
The Alabama Trucking Association (ATA) is the voice of Alabama’s trucking industry, a sector that employs more than 109,000 Alabamians – or about one in fifteen Alabama jobs.
Alabama is home to nearly 12,000 trucking companies, making it a top-ten trucking state
nationally. Alabama communities depend on trucks to deliver 86% of all goods.