MIDLAND, Texas — The trucking industry has many ties to oil and gas in the Permian Basin, like most things.
"When it went down, as well as COVID-19 hitting at the same time, people had to make ends meet," said Elizabeth Torres, office manager for Emmanuel's Trucking Resources.
So drivers left to pursue other jobs. This isn't something new the industry hasn't seen before.
"The issue of trucking shortage isn't frankly new, it's been compounded more recently by the fact that you have a circumstance of employment across the country where it's just difficult to find folks that are willing to get into a truck and into trucking. We're competing with a lot of different sectors that are all going very good right now," said John Esparza, president of the Texas Trucking Association.
Torres is the office manager of her parents' trucking company in Midland, Emmanuel's trucking resources.
They've been around 10 years hauling tubing, casing and sometimes pumpjacks to other parts of West Texas.
"Typically a bigger fleet gets hired out by an oilfield company and whenever they need help to supply the amount of trucks that the oilfield needs, they call us. We have those extra trucks," Torres said.
She's been looking to hire more drivers since the beginning of the year with no luck, but hopes she finds someone within the next month or two.
Her family company offers benefits bigger trucking companies can't, like weekends off and having reasonable hours to be able to see their families at night, but it comes with being on call.
"While the shortage is concerning for everyone involved, you have to think if you're a qualified truck driver or a qualified truck technician, there's a market for you and it's improving for you, so you can make six figures in this industry very easily, with only a few years of experience," Esparza said.
So is there a light at the end of this 18-wheeler? Not quite.
The president of the Texas Trucking Association says he expects the shortage to continue years down the line.
But according to Emmanuel's Trucking Resources, hopefully with oil and gas back on the rise, we'll only be out of this shortage soon.