On March 23, President Donald Trump met with some of the trucking industry’s biggest names, including Mike Ducker, president and CEO of FedEx Freight; David Congdon, CEO of Old Dominion Freight Line; and Rich McArdle, president of UPS Freight. A dozen truckers were also invited.
“Trucking is the backbone of the nation’s economy,” said Chris Spear, chief executive officer of the American Trucking Associations. “We employ 1 in 16 people [approximately 7.3 million Americans] in the United States. Driving a truck is the top job in 29 states. Trucking moves 70% of the nation’s freight and 56% of GDP. To grow our economy, we need to take care of the people that move America forward.” Spear said the group had an “outstanding conversation” with Trump.
Fleet growth is slowing posing one problem to the $725 million industry. However, with fewer available trucks on the road, there is actually a greater demand for drivers. Data show there is a shortage of nearly 50,000 truckers in the sector today. [See the One-Stop Talk post, “The Looming Truck Driver Shortage”]
Trump has said he intends to make the country more aware of truck drivers’ challenges, health care being a top priority.
“No one knows America like truckers know America. You see it every day. You see every hill, and you see every valley and you see every pothole in our roads that have to be rebuilt,” Mr. Trump told his visitors during their meeting in the Cabinet Room.
But it seemed like the president had the most fun when he spent a few minutes happily exploring the cab of a tractor-trailer parked outside the White House.
The 70-year-old Republican, dressed in a suit embellished with an “I love trucks” badge, enthusiastically honked the horn before pretending to drive the vehicle and making comical faces.