It is a common knowledge that there is an immense truck driver shortage in the US. As of 2015, it is estimated that the truck driver shortage is about 35,000. This is all despite the fact that trucking carriers are ramping up efforts to hire new drivers immediately. At this current rate, the truck driver shortage can increase tenfold within the next decade. Trucking companies are having a tough time attracting new drivers. And many older drivers are retiring.
While it seems like that trucking companies are going to be directly impacted by the shortage, another industry in transportation will also face limitations: intermodal. Yes, even rail shipping will be hurt from a truck driver shortage.
Intermodal is growing in popularity in the US among supply chains. In 2014, intermodal grew by 5.2%. As the volumes for intermodal increase, trucking is still the dominant mode of domestic transportation. More companies are investing millions into rail companies. And diesel fuel prices are impacting it as well.
Recently, the Journal of Commerce provided some insight on this issue. The overall truck driver shortage means that there is a drayage driver shortage. This is preventing intermodal shipping from growing in the US. In addition, congested terminals are limiting the scope of intermodal. Plus, many rail yards operate on limited hours for drivers. Thus, the combination of these problems results in intermodal issues across the board. Concerned shippers should consult their freight forwarder if they are worried about their intermodal or freight trucking shipments.