Local trucking companies face nationwide truck driver shortage


HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The American Trucking Association is reporting a shortage of truck drivers across the United States, and that’s also being seen right here in South Carolina. Experts say right now, there’s a shortage of about 50,000 drivers nationwide, and that number is expected to almost double by 2022.

President and general manager of New South Express, Carl Hamilton, said South Carolina’s about 2,000 to 3,000 drivers short. He said the shortage is mainly because the baby boomer generation is retiring, and the industry is having a tough time replacing them because the younger generation isn’t interested.

Hamilton also said the new trucking regulations made at the end of last year, with the Electronic Logging Device, puts more restrictions on drivers. He said his company has had a hard time recruiting more drivers over the past year. He also noted shipping costs have been affected because companies have to pay more for drivers, meaning consumers have to pay more.

Hamilton said he just hopes for a better image for the trucking industry.

“We offer a great industry with state of the art equipment, high wages, great benefit. I guess my hope is giving a different narrative for the trucking industry because this is a great industry… and we all have to have it, if not, we won’t be clothed, we won’t eat, and we won’t have houses if we don’t have trucks,“ said Hamilton.

Hamilton said the company is doing everything it can to make the job appealing by offering great benefits and pay. He said they’re now partnering with local tech schools to recruit younger people, while also targeting veterans and women to join the industry. Hamilton added the company’s now looking at developing an app to streamline the process of new applicants, making it more efficient for on-board drivers. Smaller local trucking companies, like BSR Transportation LLC, say its main problem is not being able to afford the insurance for drivers. This makes it hard for them to hire and retain a good driver. Safety manager at BSR Transportation LLC, Arnold Laws, said they’ve had to turn away many applicants because of the lack of experience.

“With the new FMCA’s rules and stuff – It’s getting difficult to hire retain drivers. The insurance companies, they’re not wanting to accept anyone within 2 years… and so that hurts the small person, that hurts the small trucking company – and that’s what FMCA and insurance companies don’t realize,” said Laws.

Local companies also said South Carolina has to work on its infrastructure to avoid the rising costs for consumers.

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