I've been processing this article for a while, because this is right smack dab in the center of my company's business. When I read the article, I opened up our customer database and did a quick search... Celadon is not our customer. Whew!
For several years now, it has been VERY hard to get and retain truck drivers. Every trucking company has open unfilled truck driving positions.... local, short haul, long haul, partial loads, mixed loads, regular routes... no matter what type of truck, if you have a CDL truck driver's license, you can get a job tomorrow.
The truck driving industry has a 90-100% turnover rate. Yes, you read that right: By this time next year, you will have all new drivers working for you. Every one of those drivers need to be trained. Every one of them needs to be licensed and have current drug tests and clear records and and and ...
Recently a new law went into effect that you can no longer have "paper logs". Truck drivers are required by law to record ALL of their driving in log files. Any time they are stopped by a police man or drive through a weigh station or cross a border, they need to be able to produce their logs for the last 8 days. These logs must document where they traveled from/to, where they stopped to take mandatory breaks, where they slept at night, what truck they were driving, what load they were carrying, and a record of every single pre-trip and post-trip inspection they performed before turning the truck on in the morning and turning it off in the evening.
That used to be all on paper, and very sketchy and inaccurate a lot of the time.
Then tired or amphetamine-powered truck drivers ran into minivans and killed whole families and the government had to get involved.
Now all these logs must be done on a tablet computer using an approved and certified app. It's called ELD, or Electronic Logging Device. This device talks to the GPS satellites and to the engine's ECM and verifies everything the driver says/does in their logs, and prevents them from falsifying their driver logs.
And suddenly truck drivers are leaving the business in DROVES. Retiring. Going to other industries. Becoming mechanics rather than drivers.
And now your 93% driver turnover rate is up over 110%, while shipping and transportation is at an all-time high demand, and you will hire anyone with two limbs and one eye as a driver.
And Celadon goes out of business suddenly.
Sure, because of fraud. But the BUSINESS of trucking is not in good shape, not healthy, and not sustainable.
And then Tesla comes out with an electric truck.
And then a load drives from LA to NYC without a driver - a completely autonomous vehicle with a 50,000lb load drove public roads across the country, without incident. (Apparently.)
Even without fraud at the top, running a trucking business today is simply too many variables out of your control, and is just constantly firefighting whatever is burning closest to your face at this very moment. There's no time to plan, think, or even get a good night's sleep. People have no idea what the hell is coming.
It's a weird place to be right now.