Increased recyclable waste tonnages, an aging workforce, and stringent federal laws for truckers are a few reasons the labor shortage in trucking continues in the US, according to a report published by the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA).
Moreover, COVID-19 induced illnesses, lack of affordable childcare, and insufficient incentives to rejoin the workforce have only exacerbated the issue. The association reiterated that local communities and service providers should team up to find flexible ways to work around this challenge.
SWANA has also gone a step further and highlighted short- and long-term fixes that may ease the problem. In the short term, the report recommended that waste management employers can cut down collection frequencies and leverage social media apps to increase outreach for hiring temporary or permanent staff.
For the long term, the report recommended a triage of solutions aimed at employers, communities, and agencies, and haulers:
– Increase workforce compensation especially to attract more new hires.
– Promote the industry’s track record of being recession-resistant resulting in better job security.
– Re-negotiate contracts to provide for increased truck driver wages.
– Anticipate increased collection fees in the waste management budget.
For Agencies and Haulers:
– Consider using automated truckers to reduce workers per vehicle.
The issue of labor shortage in transportation has also affected domestic freight rates, especially for yards and consumers looking at smaller volumes of scrap metal. Factoring in the high freight costs has also increased the prices of scrap metals like aluminum and copper while delayed deliveries have been noted across the country due to this issue.