Labor and driver shortages delay commercial and military moves
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The moving industry faces a massive labor and truck driver shortage during peak military move season and an explosion in relocation demands in the commercial market, possibly delaying unplanned summer moves. until August or September, according to the American Trucking Association’s moving and storage conference.
“The first big thing we’re struggling with this year is the available workforce,” said Katie McMichael, director of the ATA conference. “What we are seeing on the carrier side is that there is a 20 to 30% reduction in the workforce that the industry normally uses. It’s a huge hit during peak season, when about half of military movements take place.
“Then we also have the normal problem of pilot shortage. The movers are already booked for June and July.
Scott Ross, spokesman for US Transportation Command, told Transport Topics that the military delays will likely last for months after July, but “we don’t know of any locations saved for more than a year.”
“The military areas with the tightest declared capacity include Washington State, North and South Dakota, California, Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico,” Ross said.
Steven McKenna, vice president of the military for Sirva Worldwide Relocation and Moving, the parent company of North American Moving Services and Allied, said company agents report that guaranteed a workforce of quality was a big challenge.
COVID-19 has disrupted the workforce acquisition activity, ”he said.
“I think people are looking for opportunities to better meet their needs,” McKenna said. “Our agents are competing with Amazon, Costco and the big warehouse operators offering a good salary and perhaps offering slightly easier jobs.
“Some people look at this moving job and say, ‘It’s 110 degrees, putting stuff in a trailer and wearing a mask, that’s just not a job I want to do right now. “
Our agents compete with Amazon, Costco and the large warehouse operators.
Steve Mckenna, Military Vice President of Sirva Worldwide Relocation and Moving
Agents at the company are trying various approaches to try to attract this workforce, in part due to the upward pressure on wages, McKenna said.
“They even offer singing bonuses of up to $ 3,000 if you stay with us for 90 days,” McKenna said. “We have had to reduce our willingness to take on more work because we don’t want to take on work that we can’t do in a quality way. “
Its businesses are booked until mid-July, McKenna said.
However, the company remained busy, a benefit of a robust consumer market.
“But the cost of that has increased in terms of labor costs and purchasing new trucks and trailers,” McKenna said.
McMichael of the ATA said the Department of Defense had been alerted to the issues and had cooperated with the movers, trying to be as flexible as possible in moving troops across the United States and abroad.
“During COVID, business and residential customers tended to postpone their move for a year,” she said. “So what we are seeing is that the post-pandemic migration movement has exploded and the consumer market is very robust. “
“The third prong to this problem is seeing very limited unconventional service options,” McMichael said. “The transportation service providers that work typically have third-party freight providers who help move shipments across the country. But on the freight side, they are also increasingly busy. So, we now also see that the third-party providers in the freight market have become limited. They are decreasing.
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Military families receiving permanent shift orders should expect more than 30 days and a 20% price increase for moving their automobiles, said Dimitre Kirilov, president of Montway Auto Transport, in a statement. communicated.
“The driver shortage is having a very real effect on people moving across the country after the pandemic,” Kirilov said. “We started breaking booking records in March 2021, and we’ve been breaking records every month since. The problem is that there are simply not enough drivers to pick up and deliver the cars when people are looking to travel across the country for a variety of reasons. “
McMichael said, “The commercial market has not only come back strong, but it’s come back stronger than expected.
“It’s a good problem for providers to have so much work for everyone. But it becomes a challenge to balance all the work. There is no quick fix to solve this problem.
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