Driver shortage leaves shipping companies unable to move goods quickly

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Trucks move almost three quarters of all goods in the US. The problem since the pandemic is there aren't enough drivers.

Industry officials say there is a shortage of about 80,000 drivers nationwide.

Shawn Yadon from the California Trucking Association says "Part of it is an aging truck driver population 57% of truck drivers are over the age of 45 and 23% over the age of 55."
It's one of the reasons ports are backlogged and there is a supply chain slowdown.

The President ordered the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to work 24/7 but even when that happens they have few trucks to move the cargo out.

"Anyone who currently holds a commercial drivers license right now really has the golden ticket they're being aggressively recruited," says Yadon.

Companies are trying to find new drivers and the California Truck Driving Academy is seeing an increase in younger students attempting to get their truck driving licenses.

Marisol Sabio from the California Truck Driving Academy says "We're seeing new students come on board, about 20 each week."

Depending on the program they select, drivers can earn their licenses in about 3-6 months. Trainees agree that learning how to maneuver these massive vehicles is not easy.
Ray Stewart is training and says "It's a little challenging, slightly challenging there a little bit bigger than I thought they were a little bit more powerful but all in all it's a good experience each day that you practice it seems to get a little bit easier."

David Hlubik says he wanted a career change. He also feels he can be part of the solution.

"I think getting all that stuff out of there will help the economy get things going as far as things being short on the shelves," says Hlubik.

Starting salary can be about 1,000 dollars a week and because there is so much demand drivers are truly in the drivers seat.

Sabio says "They get to choose if they want to do over the road or if they want to stay locally, so much work out there that they can actually pick."

Sabio adds the shortage won't get better anytime soon. She thinks it will continue for at least a year.
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