- About 80% of communities depend on the trucking industry and their 3.5 million professionals, who move 70% of the nation's total freight, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA).
- As a result, the ATA is promoting Sept. 10 to 16 as National Truck Driver Appreciation Week to recognize the role truckers play in both the economy and public safety. The public relations campaign also seeks to remind the public of the difficulties and limitations of driving a truck, so as to improve highway safety.
- The ATA also notes that as recently as this week, thousands of professional truck drivers have assisted with the relief efforts for those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, serving as vital responders and rescuers.
The value of trucking to the supply chain cannot be overestimated.
“In fiscal year 2017, The Port of Virginia processed more than 950,000 truck moves through its six terminals," John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority told Supply Chain Dive. "As our container volumes increase, the importance of the motor carriers grows in parallel. Motor carriers are of critical to The Port of Virginia’s success, the supply chain and the nation’s economy. We are mindful of their hard work and dedication and it is important to reach out and personally thank them.”
Recent initiatives show truckers do more than just move freight for many companies — they often also help make the supply chain more efficient. In Indianapolis, IN, truckers who had food rejected by grocers can use a website (IndyFoodDrop.org) to find local pantries willing to accept what otherwise would become waste. In other areas, companies may be attempting to ease the load-matching process with new technology.
Those who work within the industry understand the worth of drivers' contributions. "We show our appreciation for our drivers throughout the year but go the extra mile for driver appreciation week," Randy Swart, COO of A. Duie Pyle told Supply Chain Dive. "The trucking industry is the mechanism that keeps supply chains flowing," Swart added. "Our job is to remain flexible to the ever changing needs of our customers and their customers."