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Experienced truckers who do their homework can earn between $100,000 and $120,000, and the demand for their services will only increase, according to an industry leader.
“It really is a great time to be a truck driver,” said Reid Dove, a 1994 Auburn University graduate and CEO of AAA Cooper Transportation. “And they are good people. They deserve what they get.
Dove made the remarks at the recent Fusion 2022 conference, the fifth annual supply chain symposium hosted by the university and its Harbert College of Business Center for Supply Chain Innovation.
The importance of the trucking/transportation industry was echoed by speakers throughout the event as playing a crucial role in today’s supply chain management, and Dove emphasized this. point in his speech.
“We are 80,000 drivers short in our industry,” he said, citing national statistics from 2021 and what companies are doing to recruit more drivers.
“Team drivers, like a husband and wife team, can make $250,000 a year” in some cases, he said.
Why are so many drivers needed now and in the near future?
Retirements of long-time experienced drivers are one major cause, Dove said, while another is the rapid growth of various industries in a strong economy that has become increasingly aware of the need reliable transportation to meet supply chain demands.
Companies that depend on truckers often have to respond by offering higher wages, better benefits, and greater schedule flexibility.
From diesel to electric?
Dove was asked about the future of trucking using electronic vehicles.
That day is coming, maybe sooner rather than later, and he embraces it, he said. However, the trucking industry “isn’t there yet.”
One of the main challenges is production and availability when comparing traditional diesel fuel to electric-charged trucks, he said, citing an example of a 200-mile limited range planning trial. on an eight-hour charge for each truck in a fleet of 300, “when it takes 14 minutes to refuel a diesel” that can travel hundreds of miles more.
“This is problematic. It’s a problem, and it will take time to fix it,” he said, adding that it’s also a problem when a loaded truck travels its 200 miles “and there’s no place to recharge it.
“Or if it breaks down and there is no one who can fix it. We have diesel mechanics. We don’t have many electrical mechanics yet.
That said, “I don’t doubt the power of innovation, which is magnificent,” Dove said, pointing to a similar period of debate and dramatic change when transportation evolved from horse and buggies to the first gasoline-powered automobiles.
Electric trucks are already just as powerful to drive, Dove said, and the day will come when innovation makes change in fuel supply a more likely endeavor.
“There are a lot of people working on this technology, and I think it will be done well,” he said. “We look forward to the day when this will be available.”
Make the journey
The American Trucking Associations reports that “almost every good consumed in the United States is put on a truck at some point.
“As a result, the trucking industry moved 72.5% of all freight moved in the United States in 2019, which equates to 11.84 billion tons.
“The trucking industry was a $791.7 billion industry in the same year, accounting for 80.4% of the nation’s freight bill.”
(Written by Troy Turner)