Toyota Logistics ServicesToyota Logistics Services (TLS) ­– a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Sales that manages Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicle logistics operations – has delivered nine Toyota and Lexus vehicles to the Auto Haulers Training Institute in Orange Park, Florida.

The vehicles will be used in programmes geared towards providing truck drivers with the necessary skills required to expand their careers into the automotive transport industry – at a time when there is a significant shortage of drivers.

The Auto Hauler Training Institute was founded in 2013. Since opening around 125 drivers have been trained as car haulers, and it is expected that over the coming years, between 225 and 250 drivers will graduate annually. Larry Lark, director of the Auto Hauler Training Institute said, “These vehicles allow us to more closely simulate real-life situations for our students. Through proper and thorough hands-on training and instruction, our students gain the skills necessary to perform all tasks associated with the day-to-day functions of being a professional auto hauler.”

The loan of the vehicles came about from Toyota Transport’s membership in the Auto Haulers Association of America (AHAA). Toyota Transport is TLS’ in-house vehicle transportation trucking company, which consists of 91 vehicles, employs 121 drivers, and delivers vehicles across nine Western states in the US.

TLS’ partnership with both the AHAA and the Auto Haulers Training Institute is part of TLS’ goal to attain a competent and professional group of drivers, and improve safety, quality, delivery standards and acquire state-of-the-art equipment.

D’Anne Duclos, vice president, TLS said, “Earlier this year, I visited with the instructors, students, and some of the auto hauling carriers supporting the Auto Hauler Training program. This is an excellent example of a grass roots, hands-on effort that is filling an industry need for skilled drivers. These drivers are trained to deliver vehicles safely and efficiently in real world situations, in accordance with the Auto Hauler Association of America loading manual and related national training, comprehensive training materials.”

The AHAA is a non-profit organisation established for the benefit of auto haulers and vehicles logistics providers. Some of its main aims include developing an information exchange, educational services, a library of best practices, and products to improve the operational and safety performance of its members. Bill Schroeder, general manager of AHAA said, “The car haul industry faces many challenges, with the current and long-term driver shortage amongst the most impacting and pervasive. These vehicles, along with tractors and trailers previously donated by our member companies provide us with the necessary tools to train a new generation of high-quality, safe car-haulers.”