As shipping delays plague the country, experts in Florida are working to alleviate the backups.
The goal of the Florida Ports Council is to divert some shipments from Asia, Mexico and Europe to Florida. Currently, the organization said California is the stop of choice, as it’s the shortest route.
“Look at us, look at what we will do for you. Give us a chance. We’ll show you that you don’t have to see us at the end of the United States, you can see us at the beginning of the United States,” President of Florida Ports Council Mike Rubin said.
The Florida Ports Council also said Port Canaveral does not have the infrastructure to be a temporary solution for large container ship backups.
Schools that train truck drivers are also looking to fill openings. Brad Ball, president of Roadmaster Drivers School said students are almost guaranteed a job within 24 hours of course completion.
“Demand is through the roof right now. We have never been contacted by so many companies daily as we are now of people trying to hire our graduates,” Ball said. “Most of our graduates are pre-hired, even before they start school. They are app screened to make sure they are employable before they start. Then we have multiple carriers that are interested in hiring our graduates.”
With a rush to fill open positions, The Florida Trucking Association said that new drivers are being offered generous bonuses. Alix Miller, president of The Florida Trucking Association said the current driver shortage was caused by a combination of consumer demand changes, and an influx in retirements during the pandemic.
“It’s a baby boomer generation career and we just haven’t replenished those drivers yet, so that’s real, that’s the real opportunity and goal for the industry right now, is to find that next generation,” Miller said.
Miller also said the industry is working hard to make sure store shelves are filled as the holiday’s approach.