Photo: Robson Hatsukami Morgan/Unsplash

By THE PULSE NEWS MEXICO STAFF

Mexico’s longtime shortage of licensed, big-rig truck drivers has been exacerbated by the still-ongoing covid-19 pandemic, leading to a need for replace 50,000 drivers who have fallen off the work radar in the last two years, according to the country’s National Chamber of Freight Transportation (Canacar).

Moreover, according to the International Road Transport Union (IRU), by the end of 2021, the shortage of truck drivers in Mexico will have grown by 175 percent, which would mean a deficit of 87,500 workers.

IRU said that, in addition to the pandemic, the driver shortage is due to a lack of skills, difficult working conditions, a need to attract new generations and a drain of talent to the United States, where demand is also growing.

The American Trucking Association estimates that the United States will need an additional 100,000 drivers in 2023.

Refugio Muñoz, executive vice president of Canacar, said that among the factors that most affect the shortage of operators in Mexico are highway insecurity and the poor treatment received by drivers.

But, he said, there is also less interest in passing the trade down to the next generation, due to the risks to their health, such as obesity, hypertension and the use of illicit drugs to endure long hours of work.

Given this, truck driver salaries have skyrocketed in the last 12 months.

In the north of Mexico, drivers now earn between 70,000 and 100,000 pesos a month, although in other regions the salaries are approximately 28,000 pesos.

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