Walmart is raising pay for long-haul truck drivers and launching a new program to train prospects willing to take the road, in times when a national shortage is a growing concern, the company announced.
A truck driver working for the retail giant will now make between $95,000 and $110,000 in their first year, a major increase from the $88,000 earned in average before.
According to the American Trucking Associations the shortage of truck drivers in the U.S. hit an all-time high of over 80,000 workers last year.
The announcement comes as the pandemic is still driving e-commerce, forcing logistics chains to adapt to more challenging operations. U.S. e-commerce sales rose 11% last fiscal year, ended Jan. 31, and 90% on a two-year basis.
Despite Walmart being one of the few retail chains that runs its own trucking fleet, the impact seems inevitable for everyone relying on logistics, since around 70% of American freight is moved on trucks.
Walmart’s announcement was only three days after President Joe Biden celebrated federal investments in the trucking industry. During a White House event he detailed the “Trucking Action Plan,” unveiled last year. There, Mr. Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg highlighted the critical role of truck drivers, especially during the pandemic when American families relied on them.