3 Big Reasons Why Truck Driver Training Is Worth Pursuing
Becoming a professional driver in the freight transportation industry might just be one of the best moves a person can make. It's a skilled trade that offers a lot of career stability since the need for trucking is massive and only expected to keep growing.
Just consider that Canada already has more than 300,000 truck drivers.* About 200,000 Canadians make their living in Ontario's trucking industry alone.** But thousands more drivers will be needed all across the country in the coming years. And that doesn't even come close to telling the whole story. Check out these three reasons to give a career in truck driving some serious thought:
1. A Major Shortage of Truck Drivers Is on the Horizon
Canada's trucking workforce has more people nearing retirement age than most other industries. And the ongoing growth of the freight-hauling sector is creating even more demand for qualified drivers. In fact, nationwide, the industry's need for skilled truck drivers is projected to rise by about 17 percent between 2011 and 2020.*
As a result of these and other factors, Canada is likely to experience a shortage of at least 25,000 truck drivers by 2020. But that number could go as high as 33,000 or more.* So if you're looking for a trade that's expected to be filled with reliable opportunities, this one should be at or near the top of your list.
2. Truck Drivers Are Vital to the Canadian Economy
Here's something you might not know: Roughly 90 percent of all things we buy or consume in Canada are delivered to their final destinations by truck.* The movement of goods is simply reliant on the services of commercial drivers. And that includes items as basic to our survival as food.
That's why this sector has such a big impact on the nation's economic strength. In 2011, the for-hire trucking industry alone generated about $17 billion of Canada's GDP. Yet, by 2020, that amount is predicted to rise by over 25 percent to about $21.4 billion. And the rate of growth may be even higher in Ontario at 28 percent.*
3. The Trucking Industry Offers Many Career Options for Drivers
As an aspiring truck driver, you can look forward to making some very interesting choices in your career. That's because the trucking industry is segmented in a few important ways.
For starters, will you decide to work in long-haul trucking or short-haul trucking? Each one has its own advantages, yet drivers in both areas often enjoy what they get to do. Here are the main differences:
- Long-haul truck drivers—They typically operate larger tractor-trailers that weigh over 4,600 kilograms and have at least three axles. And they mostly carry freight between different cities and locations that are over 500 kilometres apart.
- Short-haul truck drivers—Also called line-haul drivers, they drive trucks in a range of sizes for local freight delivery or special purposes like towing or hauling construction materials. Their service routes are generally limited to less than 500 kilometres within the same urban area.
Within each of these areas, things can be broken down even further. For example, for-hire trucking companies provide freight services to organizations that don't have their own trucking infrastructure. In contrast, some companies outside of the transportation industry have their own private trucking fleets. They hire their own in-house drivers and tend to mostly focus on short-haul routes.
So a qualified driver can have a whole lot of options. You can find good employment opportunities with companies that specialize in moving, transportation, manufacturing, or distribution and logistics. And it's also possible to become self-employed. By owning a truck of your own, you can contract your services out to a variety of different clients and control your own schedule.
*DriverShortage.ca, Canadian Trucking Alliance, website last visited on February 10, 2015.
**Ontario Trucking Association, website last visited on February 10, 2015.