Shortage of Canadian Drivers Could Lead to Looming Shipping Troubles

Shipping and transportation may soon become more difficult in Canada, due to a looming shortage of drivers. According to the Canadian Trucking Alliance, the shortage is set to reach 48,000 drivers in about a decade.

According to the data, around 30% of Canada’s truck drivers are 55 or over. The average age of a driver is over 47. It’s no surprise then that the trucking and shipping industry is has amongst the oldest workforces in the country.

The Problem Isn’t Only in Canada

The situation isn’t much better south of the border. According to an inforgraphic from Morai Logistics Inc, there’s already a shortage of 25,000 driver positions in the U.S. Considering that industry experts are estimating a freight increase of 29% by 2026, that’s a problem. Just in 2015, $671 billion worth of manufactured and retain goods where shipped via truck within the U.S., and $295 was moved in trade with Canada.

A Problem of Perception

The main problem seems to be one of perception. For a younger person, the idea of working 1 to 2 weeks straight, 12 hour days and with only a few days off between trips isn’t exactly glamorous. Add to that the fact that it is thought of as low skilled labour (including by the government) and it starts to make sense why younger people are avoiding such a career. Such perceptions may also explain why so few women seek out a career in trucking, shipping or logistics in general.

Industry and Governmental Efforts

The industry is working with provincial governments to make it a more appealing career option. Quebec for example, has started a special training program aimed at 17-18 year old youths who are interesting in trucking. Work is also being done to change the government classification of trucking so its listed as semi- or skilled labour. This will allow newly hired immigrants to fill driving vacancies, while also being eligible for most federal economic immigration programs.

It may be awhile before these efforts bear any fruit, but some initiatives may be better than none. If no serious efforts are made, then all types of shipping; auto shipping, mail & parcel delivery and other types of transport, will suffer.