EMPLOYMENT: As drivers reach 45-plus, continent will face a shortage of truck drivers

The trucking industry is facing a North America-wide shortage because most are 45 years of age or older and nearing retirement.

Job seekers are in luck when it comes to the commercial road transportation industry in British Columbia.

It hasn’t always been an easy go though, according to Geoff Danish of Danco Transport Ltd. in Grand Forks.

“At one time we hauled just about everything the town needed, from lumber, to particle boards, to insulation, to groceries, to fuel, to coffins for the funeral home,” he said. “You name it, we hauled it.”

The company also moved furniture and logging machinery, but now focuses on general cargo.

“Right now I’m transporting goods from Salt Lake City going up to central Alberta,” he said. “My brother has transported furniture all the way to Prince Edward Island. I’ve been up above to Arctic Circle, we’ve loaded produce to the Mexican border, and most points in between.”

Still, trucking companies throughout B.C. require professional drivers, mechanics, dispatchers and operations staff right now, which means that job seekers with experience and/or training may find work within their preferred region.

For those considering training prior to joining the workforce, demand for skilled workers in the industry is likely to grow to 2020 and beyond.

There are a number of reasons for this. For truck drivers, the industry is facing a North America-wide shortage because most are 45 years of age or older and nearing retirement. In fact, in Canada, according to a report by the Canada Trucking Human Resources Council, 58 per cent of long-haul truck drivers fall in this age range.

Similar shortages exist for other jobs, including diesel engine and heavy-duty mechanics.

Aside from worker shortages, economic growth in the Asia-Pacific Gateway is also driving demand for workers in transportation. This applies not only to companies in the Lower Mainland, but in other regions as well, since the Asia-Pacific “Gateway” is actually made up of an integrated supply chain of airports, seaports, rail and road connections and border crossings, from Prince Rupert to Surrey, with links supplied by trucking.

Today’s trucking industry is an exciting place to be. Equipment in many companies is state-of-the-art, meaning increased comfort and ease for drivers and opportunities for mechanics to work with technologically advanced systems, keeping both their skills and interest engaged.

Dispatch relies on sophisticated tracking and routing systems.

Others on the operations side also use various forms of information technology to deal with everything from licences and permits, to customer services, accounting, sales and marketing.

And, people joining the industry have many career choices. Drivers, for example, may work close to home as pickup and delivery or short-haul drivers.

Those who like the idea of travelling across Canada or North America can become long-haul drivers for an employer or work as owner-operators.

Drivers may haul consumer goods, fuel, logs, heavy-duty equipment and livestock – most of what we purchase or consume spent some time on the road with a commercial truck.

If you already have experience as a driver, mechanic or operations worker, most companies advertise jobs on their websites.

Members of the BC Trucking Association from across the province may post jobs under careers on www.bctrucking.com and the provincial and federal governments maintain job sites at WorkBC (www.workbc.ca/Jobs/) and Working in Canada (www.workingincanada.gc.ca/ – choose to explore careers by occupation, then by region). Within your own community, it may also pay to approach a company you’d like to work for, drop off a résumé and inquire if and when they’ll be hiring.

If you’d like to enter the industry but need training, there are also many avenues to explore. Although there is not a standard training course for professional drivers, there are numerous private schools throughout B.C. that offer programs.

For information on transportation trades in B.C., including mechanics and other technicians, visit transCDA (www.tcda.ca/home) and for information on trucking careers in general, see www.truckingcareers.ca.

Your own community and region depend on trucking. It may also offer the right career for you.

– Submitted by Black Press

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