The industry says the plan is a step in the right direction but not enough to fix the supply chain crisis
On Thursday, the Biden Administration unveiled a new plan to battle with supply chain crisis. The so-called "Trucking Action Plan" aims to resolve the immediate driver shortage and address long-standing challenges in the trucking industry that predate the arrival of COVID-19.
According to the official statement from the White House, the administration will be working closely with the private sector to engage in a "90-day apprenticeship challenge". This will expand existing programs to help put more well-trained drivers on the road.
What is included?
Biden's administration plan also includes connecting 70,000 veterans who left the service with extensive military trucking experience with trucking jobs as they transition to civilian life. But would all that help the current supply chain crisis? Some critics say that the plan is not addressing the most critical issue - retention.
They're putting so much emphasis on bringing in more drivers and not enough on what you do once they're in the field, how you get them to stay behind the wheel," said Collin Long. He is Director of Government Affairs for OOIDA
The plan also proposes providing resources to help states expedite and expand the commercial driver's license process. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will provide over $30 million in funding. FMCSA will also begin closely tracking delays, identifying states with issues with issuing CDLs. The administration is communicating with all 50 governors about reducing delays in issuing CDLs.
The current demand
Truck driver shortage, a primary concern for the industry for the past few years, has reached unprecedented levels and has a noticeable effect on this holiday season. At Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, cargo ships are lingering for weeks and their containers idling on docks awaiting pickup.
The American Trucking Association says the country needs to fill 80,000 trucker jobs to satisfy America's demand to move freight.
The one positive idea in Biden's Trucking Action Plan, according to Long, is looking into the issue with unpaid "detention time" causing inefficiency in the supply chain. The problem has only grown more extensive during COVID, with warehouse workers leaving the workforce due to stagnant wages and poor conditions.
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