As more and more freight is hauled from the Port of Charleston to distribution centers throughout the state, there is a growing demand for drivers with commercial licenses. And legislators are trying to find solutions for a worsening shortage of drivers to fill those jobs.
“The number one issue is getting drivers trained, on the road, with good quality education to get the pipeline going,” State Rep. Jay West, R-Belton. West is Chairman of the House Transportation Subcommittee which met Tuesday to discuss the issue.
The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a six percent increase in the demand for commercial truck drivers between 2016 and 2026. And, with the growing manufacturing base in South Carolina, the state is expected to have similar demands for freight and logistics. However, the industry says not enough younger drivers are entering the field to offset older ones who retire.
South Carolina’s Department of Transportation says trucking is the primary mode for freight travel in South Carolina. The agency projects truck traffic will grow by more than 60 percent in the next two decades.
“We do have a drastic shortage there,” West said. “It’s not only within the trucking industry but all commercial drivers, whether it be construction companies, bus lines and others, we’re having issues of a shortage so we’re going to look for ways to address those things.” [Read more…]