Supply chain snags, aging workforce fuel demand for truckers, training

Providers of commercial truck driving training are seeing more applicants seeking to fill what industry leaders say is a driver shortage.

Training more drivers, along with people in related fields, might help to address supply chain snags businesses have been dealing with over the past year.

Jay Morales with Coastal Truck Driving School, which has six training centers including one in Baton Rouge, says enrollment is up 100%. He says all of their classes are filled and most are booked well ahead of time.

Randy Guillot, president and owner of Triple G Express, a Port Allen-based trucking company, says the median age of truck drivers is high compared to other professions, and the industry is concerned about pending retirements. He says state lawmakers’ proposal to lower the legal driving age for big rigs from 21 to 18 would help.

“The demand is there,” says Quintin Taylor, spokesperson for the Louisiana Community and Technical College System. “Obviously the industry needs more drivers.”

Unfortunately, many potential students cannot afford $5,500 for the relevant LCTCS program. The Louisiana Motor Transport Association Foundation has donated $100,000 to fund scholarships for students to pursue training in transportation and logistics.

“Truckers have faced a critical shortage of workers over the last decade and the pandemic has only exacerbated that problem, especially for tank truck drivers,” says Tom O’Neal, LMTA Foundation board chair and owner of Hercules Transport.