Truck drivers in high demand nationwide - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Truck drivers in high demand nationwide

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

There is a serious shortage of truck drivers in the nation, and that can spell trouble for Memphis, the distribution super hub of the country.

When Kwame Aldridge isn't cutting hair, he’s a part-time truck driver doing local and regional hauls.

“That's definitely something you have to want to do,” Kwame said. “You know you're gone away from your family. Running all kind of weather conditions.”

But he loves it so much, he even convinced his cousin Tyruss Williams to do the same.

“I've been driving for four years so as you can imagine I've been here, there, everywhere,” Williams said.

But there aren't enough Aldridges and Williams out there.

According to the American Trucking Association, there's a shortage of about 50,000 truck drivers across the country trying to meet the high shipping demands of retail giants like Amazon and Walmart, leading to delayed deliveries.

“Memphis is the actual distribution capital in the United States of America, actually number 2 in the world behind China,” said Trey Carter with Olympic Career Training Institute.  

That’s why the folks at the Olympic Career Training Institute have been so busy.

Their truck driving program is in high demand with local companies.

“You've got Amazon opening up here, DHL, UPS--there's multitude of companies here in Memphis and the driver shortage in Memphis is becoming very serious,” said truck driver trainer Bill Phillips.

Phillips said the starting salary for a driver is between $45-50,000 and some companies are willing to pay signing bonuses.

It’s not a bad gig for Williams who said his cousin's advice changed his life.

“Look it's not the end of the road being a convicted felon, I found out being able to drive has given me an avenue that I wouldn't have thought about,” Williams said.

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