The critical link in America’s supply-chain struggles is a lack of truckers to move freight. Jennifer Smith reports at The Wall Street Journal:
A critical, often-overlooked link in the supply chain is emerging as a stubborn choke point in the freight-backlog mess: trucking.
Trucks haul more than 70% of domestic cargo shipments. Yet many fleets say they can’t hire enough drivers to meet booming consumer demand as the U.S. economy emerges from the pandemic.
The freight backup has intensified longstanding strains in the industry over hours, pay, working conditions and retention.
The surge of goods has created logjams at loading docks and port terminals, gobbling up scarce trucking capacity and making drivers’ jobs even harder. Factories and warehouses are also short of staff to load and receive goods. Meanwhile, the broader labor shortage has left openings for other blue-collar jobs that compete with trucking, including in local delivery operations, construction and manufacturing.
The shortfalls are pushing up transportation costs and delaying deliveries for retailers and manufacturers already coping with disruptions ahead of the holiday peak.
Read more here.