Truck driver shortage adding to US supply chain issues as holiday shopping season begins

Federal officials say that the supply chain crisis is here to stay, and that they are doing what they can to ease the burden.

News 12 Staff

Nov 1, 2021, 9:17 PM

Updated 899 days ago

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Federal officials say that the supply chain crisis is here to stay, and that they are doing what they can to ease the burden.
The one thing they can’t do is hire more truck drivers to move all the goods that are stuck on containers. The trucking industry is undergoing a shortage of drivers and is down about 80,000 drivers.
Trucker Durrell Watford says that he is fortunate because he gets to go home to his family in Irvington every night. But he says that this is not the case for all truckers.
“I paid my dues some 20 years ago where I can work locally,” he says. “The guys not wanting to be away from their family – I think that’s discouraging a lot of guys from entering the trucking industry.”
Experts say that this is a major reason why younger people are not going into the trucking industry.
“You guys don’t want to be away from home. So, the over-the-road truck driver is kind of a dying breed,” says trucker Kevin Sechrist.
Sechrist lives in central Pennsylvania and gets to go home on the weekends.
“A lot of times you miss out on things with the kids. Events and stuff. They know Daddy has to go out and earn a living,” he says.
Another reason for the low numbers is that many older drivers are now retiring.
Both of these aspects have resulted in a lack of labor available to move the containers coming off ships into ports.
Those in the industry say that if more truckers are needed, the industry should cut back on some regulations and give the drivers some actual monetary incentives.
To help with the backlog of goods, President Joe Biden is cutting some of the red tape within the customs process to quicken the unloading.
"Look, we've got demand. That's off the charts. The Retail Federation is predicting an all-time record high in terms of sales. We've got supply, which is in some cases actually up, but not up enough to keep up with that demand,” says Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Others are also stepping up to help alleviate the supply chain issues. Walmart has announced that it is hiring 20,000 people to help. Jobs include drivers, order fillers, shipping loaders and more.


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