The trucking industry is essential for moving goods, but it’s facing a significant shortage of skilled, reliable truck drivers. By 2028, the global shortage is expected to reach 7-million drivers, which threatens the efficiency and sustainability of this industry sector.

The gap between the growing demand for trucking logistics and the availability of experienced drivers is a major concern. The average age of qualified and experienced truck drivers is also set on a worrying trend – the industry is simply not replenishing talent quickly enough to sustain current and future demands.

“It’s easy for companies to increase their fleet size to meet business needs or take on opportunities, but nothing moves without a driver. To address this shortage, the logistics sector focus really needs to urgently address the retention of current experienced drivers and their expertise and training young drivers with technology. This is where telematics data and supporting driver training technology can play an important role in profiling good driver performance and training drivers on what is good performance,” comments Justin Coetzee, GoMetro CEO.


Digital technology creates better working conditions

In South Africa, trucks move 80% of freight, which is ten times more than rail. This makes experienced, dependable drivers business-critical, and management solutions that improve driver satisfaction and fleet operations highly prized. Without a steady pool of experienced truck drivers, the South African economy is at risk of seizing up.

Good driver training all starts with reliable and consistent data. Route and trip data benchmark what good driver performance means – which includes non-obvious aspects such as throttle position, hill climb entry speeds, brake management and road hazards – and so good driving needs to be taught route-by-route.

“The way a driver drives is a combination of situational decision-making, route knowledge, muscle-memory and vehicle understanding.   Having the right data on trip performance and driver adherence is key to efficient operations,” continues Coetzee.

Route data can be shared with drivers that show them how they have performed to benchmarks, as well as ways in which they can improve the next time they carry out their trip. This can be done as a PDF print-out, a leaderboard or detailed information on a driver roster and performance application. A number of telematics companies are also offering edge-AI driver cameras that can give the driver real-time feedback on his performance.


Experience counts

“Experienced drivers are invaluable because of their mechanical intuition and ability to handle emergencies, which helps to prevent vehicle damage,” Coetzee adds.

“AI and in-cab technology now has the potential to turn your bottom quartile performing drivers into the mean, and your average driver performance into your fleet to achieve top quartile performance. However, there are no silver bullets – it is a journey that carriers can start with companies like GoMetro, who offer support in digitalization journeys” Coetzee adds.

“Technology platforms provide simple solutions to future-proof the industry across three integral areas of the value chain: talent retention, operational excellence and great customer experiences. Building technology into your fleet management isn’t just a temporary fix, it’s a strategic investment in the future of your company,” concludes Coetzee.