A new report from the research arm of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) suggests that current supply chain problems are caused not by a shortage of available drivers but by waiting long hours at shippers and receivers.

A recent report issued by the OOIDA Foundation seeks to combat the mainstream media and American Trucking Associations (ATA) narrative that the trucking industry is short 80,000 drivers.

Instead, the OOIDA Foundation report suggests that current supply chain problems are caused by inefficiency within the trucking industry that results in much of a driver’s available hours being squandered by waiting.

Based on a survey of more than 900 drivers, the report found that “a majority of drivers spend between 12 and 20 hours each week waiting to load and unload their truck. In other words, they spend 20% to 30% of their possible compensated drive time in detention.”

One of the survey respondents stated that “this is one of the biggest issues affecting hours of service and safety. Drivers encountering unexpected long detention, feel forced to drive faster, harder, and longer to make up for perceived lost time.

“We’re at 6.5 of 11 hours of driving (industry average),” said J.B. Hunt Senior Vice President Corporate Safety, Security and Driver Personnel Greer Woodruff.

Beyond increasing detention times, drivers are also losing productive driving hours to the search for parking, spending about 56 minutes per day looking for a safe and available spot. Drivers are also forced to waste time sitting in idle in traffic and driving empty to the shipper.

The report suggests that rather than adding new drivers to the industry, many supply chain problems could be alleviated with expedited loading and unloading times, flexible appointment times, more available parking at shipper facilities, and more consistency with loads and lanes.

The report also points to driver retention issues caused by an “unattractive working environment due in large part to long hours and inadequate compensation” as a contributing factor in supply chain problems.

Take a look at a graphic from the OOIDA Foundation below that details how much of a driver’s day is wasted.

You can read the full OOIDA Foundation white paper here.

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