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Dothan-based AAA Cooper CEO: Supply chain shortages are as much about manpower as materials

At the recent Fusion 2022 conference, the truck driver shortage was a major topic of discussion.

The fifth annual supply chain symposium hosted by Auburn University Harbert College of Business had multiple speakers echo the issues facing this crucial cog of the supply chain in America.

Auburn alum and AAA Cooper Transportation CEO Reid Dove stated at the conference, “We are short 80,000 drivers in our industry.”

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He added, “It’s a really, really good time to be a truck driver.”

Both in the immediate and near future, more drivers will be needed as Dove referenced the imminent retirements of longtime, experienced drivers as a leading cause. He further cited rapid growth of diverse industries having increased need for dependable transportation in meeting supply chain demands.

A report by Troy Turner of Auburn University highlighted why a driver shortage would be a serious issue impacting supply chains.

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) reported that trucking made up “80.4% of the nation’s freight bill.”

“[N]early every good consumed in the U.S. is put on a truck at some point,” said the ATA. “The trucking industry hauled 72.5% of all freight transported in the United States in 2019, equating to 11.84 billion tons. The trucking industry was a $791.7 billion industry in that same year, representing 80.4% of the nation’s freight bill.”

Due to shortages in staffing, wages and benefits are increasing for drivers.

Dove advised that in some cases, “Team drivers, such as a husband-and-wife team, can make $250,000 annually.”

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