The current lack of drivers and trucks in the transportation sector has never been seen in U.S history. In the last few years, there has been a chronic shortage of drivers across the country but with the pandemic this problem has considerably increased.
Consequently, some suppliers are complaining and claiming that the fault of all the delays in deliveries is the shortage of drivers, as happened for example with gas stations and airports due to the lack of fuel or the increase in the price of lumber. The economy is extremely affected by the pandemic, which does not allow drivers to return to their jobs for fear of getting infected.
In July, Labor Secretary (Marty Walsh), the deputy administrator of the FMSCA (Meera Joshi) and Transportation Secretary (Pete Buttigieg) joined a roundtable meeting with the trucking industry to figure out how decrease turnover and enhance driver retention.
Some measures that the industry is looking for is considering the reduction of the minimum age allowed for interstate drivers from 21 to 18 years. And also include the transportation industry in the list of business that can evade some of the processes related to the Department of Labor’s immigration certification.
Search for drivers in another countries, like Canada, Mexico, South Africa and Europe, is one solution for the transportation sector. But that would result in the doubling of visa requests in comparison to pre-pandemic request levels.
According to what representatives of different transportation organizations in the United States say, bringing in foreign drivers will require many bureaucratic steps to give a work permit. The Biden Administration is looking for a way to deal with the problem that the transportation sector is facing due to the lack of drivers.
This will help to reduce the shortage of drivers caused by early pandemic retirements or drivers who weren’t able to get a license because the lockdown and will help companies that are really in need of qualified drivers. Since companies’ efforts offering different benefits, such bonuses or higher wages, to attract local workers has not been successful.