FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KGPE) – The U.S. continues to struggle with supply chain shortages, caused in part by a nationwide shortage of truck drivers. The trucking industry is short 80,000 drivers, according to the American Trucking Association.
Roger Gill has been in the trucking business for nearly 25 years and runs the A-1 Truck Driving School in Fresno. He’s training employees for a profession that – according to the American Trucking Association – has seen a 30% decrease since the pandemic when the industry already faced a labor shortage of 61,500 drivers.
“I get 20 calls a day for drivers. Everybody’s looking for drivers right now. They can’t find any. If the trucking industry gets hurt, everybody is going to get hurt. And that’s what’s going on,” Gill said.
Jay Thandi, the manager of Trius Trucking Company, says the trucking business is doing well overall. The pandemic actually increased the need for goods to be transported nationwide. The problem is, companies like his cannot find the drivers to do it.
“We’ll have about 20% of our fleet sitting. There are companies that come towards us and ask us to provide business and we have to deny them, all the time,” he said.
Thandi and Gill say many of their truck drivers are immigrants, and policies put in place by the Trump administration have made it harder for them to come and work in the U.S.
Right now, a bipartisan infrastructure bill is awaiting action in Congress, which would allow 3,000 drivers between the ages of 18-20 to undergo training, permitting them to drive tractor-trailers across state lines.
“If this goes on for a few more months, things will be even worse,” Gill said.