The United States is now the leading oil and gas producer in the world. America’s production success is fueled by rising output from shale fields. Analysts project this output to continue to grow in the coming years. This dramatic increase in energy supplies is leading to a sharp rise in needed freight capacity. As a result, the oil and gas boom is straining the trucking industry, which already has a serious driver shortage.
Due to ongoing industry conditions and high turnover rates, the American Trucking Association estimates that over the next 10 years, the industry will need some 890,000 new drivers. Although this is not a new problem, there are current conditions that make the problem persist. Unemployment has dropped by over half since the economic crash in 2008 and is now at a level economists consider “full employment.” Construction jobs have traditionally been a primary alternative to truck driving and those openings are also on the rise as the housing market recovers from its bust. The National Association of Homebuilders estimates that there are 200,000 unfilled openings, nearly doubling in the past two years. This increased competition for labor will mean that the driver shortage will continue.
Truck Transport Capacity Concerns
With a shortage of drivers comes a shortage of available truck transport capacity. Trucks move 70 percent of domestic goods. Competition for that available space is growing. As the economy continues to rebound and online shopping grows, more trucks are being used to transport consumer goods across the country. In the energy sector, proposals from the new president could further increase the demand for truck capacity. President Trump has called for renewed coal production, authorized the building of two energy pipelines, and mandated the use of American produced steel in their construction. A call from the Trump administration for extensive infrastructure investment could also exacerbate the strain on available truck capacity.
Making Moves: Moving People and Businesses
One of the key components of the trucking industry is moving and storage services. When people change households or businesses move to new offices, they require moving trucks. Small moves are sometimes performed by the person moving by using a rental truck they drive themselves. Most however, hire movers to facilitate the process. Truck drivers in the moving industry are often expected to fill many roles beyond driving the truck. They may weigh the goods they are moving, estimate the cost of the move, load, unload, unpack, setup, and generally work directly with customers while providing high levels of personal service. This adds additional layers of complexity for moving companies in the battle to recruit truck drivers.
Procurement executives seeking the right partner for corporate relocation services will find the most value in companies that can provide both capacity, as well as high levels of customer service. Moving services vendors who are innovative and committed to initiatives that allow them to attract, hire, and retain the best truck drivers in a highly competitive labor market are a procurement executive’s best bet.
That’s what makes the team at northAmerican® especially attractive as a moving and relocation services provider. With a commitment to programs that expand and diversify its workforce, including seeking talent from the largely untapped pool of women workers, as well as a commitment to empower veterans through hiring and scholarship programs, we are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to being able to provide the moving services our procurement customers rely on. Worried about the strain the oil and gas boom is putting on the trucking industry as it relates to your needs for corporate relocation services? Call us, we’ve got you covered.