02/21/2013 10:14 EST | Updated 04/23/2013 05:12 EDT

Trucker Shortage To Hit Alberta Economy The Hardest, Says Conference Board of Canada

Truck driver Earliest Madir inspects his truck while waiting for a load at a truck stop Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in Atlanta. Even amid a struggling economy with high unemployment, trucking companies had a tough time hiring young drivers willing to hit the road for long hauls. Now the U.S. is speeding toward a critical shortage of truck drivers in the next few years as the economy recovers and demand for goods increases, an expert in the inner-workings of supply chains said in a report Tuesday. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

CALGARY - Canada is heading for a severe trucker shortage and Alberta maybe hit particularly hard, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

A study by the board says the driver shortage will threaten the country's supply chain and the entire economy.

David Bradley, president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, says many current drivers are set to retire and there are not a lot of candidates waiting in the wings.

He adds a trucker shortage would be bad for consumers, considering almost all goods are shipped in Canada by big rigs.

The study says that Canada could experience a shortage of about 30,000 truck drivers by 2020.

It also says a change in policy to recognize trucking as a skilled trade could attract more domestic and immigrant entrants into the industry.

"The food we eat, the goods that we enjoy and even the homes we live in are in large part delivered by trucks," said researcher Vijay Gill.

"The inability to meet a huge demand for drivers could be costly for the trucking industry, consumer goods and the Canadian economy."

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