The CEO of a major logistics firm has suggested that more immigration could help alleviate the current strain on drivers in the trucking industry in a recent interview.
Robert Biesterfeld, CEO of C.H. Robinson Worldwide, recently appeared on CNBC with some thoughts on the current trucking industry climate and potential solutions.
“Trucking is a great job for people that want to come to this country, start a business and work for themselves,” he said.
“If you look across the demographic of truck driving, there’s a very heavy slant to immigrants. The ATA estimates that over the next decade, we need to hire another million truck drivers to meet the needs of the demand that’s coming.”
The recent ATA estimates are based on perceived need for truckers throughout the next decade, and factors in the ideal numbers of drivers based on upcoming demand.
Still, even Biesterfeld admits that ‘more immigration’ may not be a long-term fix.
“Immigration could help fix the trucker shortage now, but to avoid future shortages, self-driving or autonomous trucks may become more mainstream,” Biesterfeld said. “We certainly think that there will be a more autonomous future in trucking … We tend to think that that’s a bit further out into the future but we’ll be ready for that as an organization.”
Biesterfeld also acknowledged the Biden administration’s effort to ease supply chain woes by expanding port hours, but says that it will take more than that to fix the current hiccups.
“[Expanded port hours] doesn’t clear the entire supply chain. We’ve still got to deal with shortage of chassis that exist in the port, the availability of drainage capacity to go in and pick up those containers and then … we have to get capacity into the network to move them out of the ports,” he said. “I do think we’re going to continue to see these delays over the course of the next several months.”