Industry News

‘Looming crisis’ as industry continues to struggle with driver shortages

With the results of a new survey demonstrating significant driver shortages across the trucking industry, NatRoad says the time to act is now.

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) is calling on National Cabinet to immediately address the “looming crisis for the nation’s economy and supply chain”.

“This is not just a crisis for the trucking industry, it’s a crisis for the national economy,” said Warren Clark, CEO of NatRoad.

“We’re seeing a huge gap in the number of drivers required and the downstream impact on our supply chain and our country is significant.

“Over 26,000 drivers are needed to fill the current gaps in our sector, with big fleet operators the most impacted. When there is a need for around 180,000 drivers for an effective sector, this represents a 14.4 per cent shortfall, well over the current national job vacancy rate of between 5 and 6 per cent.”

These figures come from an Australian survey conducted by the International Road Transport Union (IRU) in partnership with NatRoad.

Results show critical driver shortages across all business sizes and types in the trucking sector, from owner-operators through to large fleet managers.

With a large portion of drivers nearing retirement age, the trucking industry is also facing a challenge in attracting young people. The survey found almost 50 per cent of all drivers were over the age of 55, with an average age of 49.

To add, the participation of young people and women in the industry is very low, with 5.2 per cent of drivers under 25 and just 6.5 per cent being women. NatRoad said these figures indicated a critical need to attract a younger and more diverse workforce.

“We are expecting the NSW road freight requirements to increase by 57.1 per cent by 2040, so we must act now to secure our supply chain,” said Clark.

“The survey results underscore the urgent need for National Cabinet to explore measures to secure the national supply chain.

“We need to develop incentive programs that make the trucking industry more appealing to young people and women, while encouraging current operators to continue their careers.”

NatRoad says this includes investing in training programs that equip new drivers with necessary skills, improving career pathways into the industry, including better access to apprenticeships and traineeships, and focusing on increasing the number of young and female drivers.

“We must also improve the quality and competency of training and licensing and enhance their overall working conditions, especially for those in the industry already,” Clark continued.

“This means addressing issues such as non-safety related fines, improving the quality and quantity of rest areas, and recognising the essential role of truck drivers by treating them with respect, including at customer depots and delivery sites.

“The supply chain is the backbone of our economy, and without enough drivers, the entire system is at risk. We need immediate action from the government to prevent further disruption.”


The post ‘Looming crisis’ as industry continues to struggle with driver shortages appeared first on Big Rigs.

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