How to Cope with Tank Truck Driver Scarcity

Posted on February 08, 2018 by Betty King

If you’re having difficulty finding tanker trucks, you’re not alone.  The scarcity of available trucks is an industry-wide issue that has only increased in severity with the recent ELD mandate.  The loads are there, but the trucks aren’t. 

So, what can you do?  While there are no easy solutions in sight, there are little things you can start doing now that can pay dividends in securing capacity going forward.  

Securing Tank Truck Driver Capacity: Change Your Approach

To achieve a better outcome in your quest for capacity, consider the following:

  1. tank truck driver capacityGive as much lead time as possible. In this climate, the odds of securing a tanker truck with just a few days of lead time is highly unlikely.  Most carriers are currently scheduling a week or even a week-and-a-half out.  If you’re looking for capacity in-and-around major hub areas like Chicago, New Jersey, or Texas, it could be even longer.  So, your best course of action is to schedule loads as far in advance as possible and give carriers a long enough runway to accommodate you. 
  2. Be flexible. In addition to increasing lead time, give your freight partners leeway when it comes to load and unload windows.  Try to fit into their schedules as much as they need to work with yours.  We’re not saying you need to give 24-hour windows, but locking into a specific 4-hour window may scare many carriers away.  These days, carriers have many more loads than they can handle. Being flexible increases your chances of being one of the freight requests they can fulfill.    
  3. Pay more. The tank truck driver capacity crunch has turned bulk shipping into a spot market in which every load can be considered a scarce load.  This has led to dramatically higher prices.  For the foreseeable future, you won’t see the rates you’re used to seeing.  Capacity is now king and you may need to pay to play. 
  4. Lean on partners. In prioritizing capacity, you don’t want to be taken advantage of.  If you have a trusted freight partner, lean on them to give you the straight story on capacity and cost, and to help guide you through the capacity challenges that lie ahead.  Transparency and sometimes-brutal honesty are traits that you should seek and value in your carriers and freight partners during these tough times. 
  5. Consider freight brokers. If you haven’t been using a bulk freight broker to help with tanker truck capacity, now may be a good time to start.  While freight brokers are not magicians that can make trucks appear at will, they tend to have large carrier networks and a good understanding of lanes their carriers are looking to fill.  This means that they can have many more hooks in the water on your behalf than you can on your own. 

Bulk Connection Freight Brokerage

Over the last 30+ years, Bulk Connection has built the largest network of bulk carriers in North America.  This network includes the major lines, as well as regional specialists. 

In times of scarcity, it’s vital that you have the right partners in place to keep your freight moving.  Contact us today to learn how we can help fulfill your tank truck driver capacity needs. 

This entry was posted in Bulk Transportation, Liquid Bulk Transport, Freight Industry Issues by Betty King