One of John Larkin’s annual “top ten” industry trend listings suggests automation may not arrive soon enough to stave off a major labor crunch.
There’s a lot of change going on in trucking right now, with the contentious imposition of electronic logging devices (ELDs) but one of the more salient examples.
Trying to keep track of all the trend lines affecting trucking, both inside and outside the industry, can be a daunting task but luckily John Larkin – managing director and head of transportation capital markets research for Stifel Capital Markets – takes a stab at it every year.
So, what should motor carrier executives keep their eyes upon as the New Year starts shifting into high gear? Here’s what Larkin thinks will be key in 2018.
1. Automation and reduced regulation not occurring fast enough to keep pace with growing blue collar labor shortage and demand growth.
In the view of several executives Larkin has talked with, automation isn’t being applied quickly enough to eliminate what is evolving as a chronic blue collar labor shortage. “Truckers struggle to find compliant, drug free drivers. Truckers struggle to find technicians to perform maintenance work on their ever more complicated tractors and trailers,” he said. “Warehouse men, distribution center operators, and fulfillment center operators bellyache about the lack of competent, willing workers. The construction industry and the energy development industries face the same issue … and can’t seem to automate enough functions quickly enough to alleviate the worsening people shortage.
Larkin thinks that within five to 20 years, depending on the task automation will be broadly enough applied across the global and national supply chains to eliminate, or at least greatly diminish, the current labor shortage. “However, growth of freight demand and additional factors constraining freight hauling and handling capacity could accelerate from here, extending the time frame required to ease the potentially problematical labor shortage,” he warned... To Continue Reading, CLICK HERE