Federal Manager's Daily Report

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The Postal Service is among the businesses feeling the impact of the nationwide shortage of truck drivers, and audit has said, adding that the USPS could help itself in recruiting by promoting several favorable factors for its drivers.

An IG report says that the USPS has had a shortage of about 1,000 drivers in its 9,000-employee Postal Vehicle Service since at least 2018, a period in which the nationwide shortage of truck drivers rose from about 61,000 to 80,000. The PVS covers local routes, generally under 50 miles, moving mail among processing facilities, inner-city delivery offices, and local businesses and mailers.

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It said the USPS has a pilot program to train motor vehicle operators already driving lighter mail trucks to drive larger tractor-trailers, and has stepped up recruitment efforts. Subject matter experts told the IG that “beyond offering higher wages, dedicated routes and the ability to go home at night are attractive aspects of a job for many drivers. Therefore, these attributes of PVS driving could be relatively attractive compared to some other industry positions . . . focusing on the driver experience is a powerful way to improve driver recruitment and retention.”

The report added that the shortage also applies to long-distance mail routes, called highway contract routes, which are contracted out to more than 1,700 companies. Costs per mile increased 18 percent during that period, and the driver shortage “appears to be a significant contributor. The truck driver shortage also creates performance challenges for HCRs. Postal Service management said the shortage contributes to HCR suppliers omitting service for trips — that is, failing to provide services as expected under the contract — potentially because the HCR supplier did not have a driver available.”

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