What’s the Difference: Driver Shortage vs. Capacity Shortage

To know why a problem exists, you need to understand the reasons behind it. In logistics, there are a ton of issues; two of them are driver and capacity shortages. The two may sound the same, but they’re very different. However, they both result in potential delay and reduced efficiency. Understanding both of them gives you a better insight into what could potentially slow your logistics operations.

Driver Shortage vs. Capacity Shortage

Let’s break down each:

Driver Shortage

A driver shortage is the lack of qualified CDL holders. During this type of shortage, there aren’t enough “pilots” to drive the trucks. Most carriers, especially not-so-established ones, often have a 1:1 driver-to-truck ratio. When a driver is on leave, a driver shortage is inevitable. Although there are freelance truckers out there, it still takes time to negotiate. For more established logistics companies, there are extra drivers ready for such events. Talk to your logistics company about this if your business is incapable of such downtimes.

Capacity Shortage

Capacity shortage, on the other hand, is not the opposite of driver shortage as most people think. It’s purely the lack of resources. The logistics provider may have run out of trucks, carriers, and other motorized vehicles to deliver the goods to their destination.

Why Do These Shortages Happen?

For driver shortage, it’s simple: drivers are just people. Sometimes, they get sick; other times, they want to take a vacation. There are times that driver shortage comes from more profound problems such as salary issues causing them to skip work.

A capacity shortage has several reasons behind the problem. One of them could be poor management. Some logistics companies would take on partnerships that they can’t handle.

Other reasons are lack of compliant vehicles in an old trucking fleet may cause shortages, lack of truck diversity (reefer, flatbed, etc.), and mechanical issues during certain seasons may cause a capacity shortage.

Although capacity shortage may seem to be the biggest problem in the industry, it is the shortage of drivers that most logistics companies are more concerned about. Due to CDL requirements becoming harder and harder to attain, logistics companies are limited to hiring only experienced drivers, which is scarce. Currently, CDL is reserved for age 21 and up. Salary is also another issue as more and more drivers demand better benefits and rates.

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