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Need for truck drivers increases as shortage impacts supply chain

Companies offering higher salaries, sign-on bonus amid shortage
Posted at 6:41 PM, Oct 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-25 18:41:56-04

ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. — The training yard at Metropolitan Trucking & Training Institute Inc. in Royal Palm Beach is noisy and busy with big rigs on the move.

"Most of my family members are truck drivers, so that got me interested in doing the same thing," said Kennedy Jean Charles, while sitting behind the wheel looking to join the family business.

Kennedy Jean almost finished the required training, and he's ready to travel outside of the state of Florida.

"I can't describe it, I'm just so happy and ready to go," he said.

Over the past few months, the training and testing site has seen a 50 to 60-percent increase in students, as more and more wanted flyers are posted on the bulletin board near the front office, looking for drivers with little to no experience.

"There is a big need. We're open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and at 7 a.m., if you're here, there's a long line of students waiting to start their practice," said Jesid Neira, a manager at Metropolitan Trucking & Training Institute Inc.

Across the industry, the American Trucking Associations said it's facing a shortage of about 80,000 truck drivers, which is impacting the supply chain.

So now, companies like Bullet Delivery of West Palm Beach are offering drivers more per hour as an incentive.

"I rather give them a little more, because I think it's competitive out there with guys trying to get drivers, so I'll give a little more and be competitive too," said Milton Brown, who has owned the business for 22 years.

Some larger companies are offering much larger salaries and a sign-on bonus amid the shortage.

Kennedy Jean still has to pass a test, but he's looking to take advantage of the bonuses and the higher pay to help overcome the trucker shortage.

"Yes, sir. It's all about the money. Where the money is higher that's where I'll go," he said.