The truck driver shortage looks to complicate scheduling and deliveries well past the holiday shopping season. While there are a lot of truckers on the roadways moving goods, the problems from supply chain issues and increases in consumer demand are putting more strain on a seriously backlogged system.
Truckers are already working long hours to meet deadlines. However, the trucking industry is signaling that they need more people to make up for the new influx of holiday and non-seasonal orders. These staffing shortages are costly for drivers too, as food, fuel and maintenance costs rise due to pressures on the economy.
What Are the Effects?
Supply chain problems have added a significant burden to the struggling trucking industry. Here are some holiday shopping outcomes because of driver shortages.
Ongoing Delivery Delays
The typical flow of goods is backed up at ports and overfilled warehouses making it difficult to alleviate snarls in the system. While truck drivers have mostly streamlined delivery assignments, working around countless infrastructure concerns is pushing them to the limit and problems were mounting before the holiday crunch.
Seasonal deliveries are adding a whole new set of headaches. Holiday shoppers should expect ongoing delays as truckers work overtime to get goods where they need to be. Retailers are already warning shoppers of possible shortages on particular items, but there is no way to know exactly how shipments play out over the next month.
People are finding considerably higher prices for available items this holiday season. One reason is fewer truckers behind the wheel. The pandemic had a two-fold impact on truck drivers. First, seasoned operators who were nearing retirement decided to leave their jobs.
Second, there hasn’t been a surge of candidates wanting to apply for open positions with companies or an increase in the number of independent operators. These factors are complicating an already shaky market situation.
Fuel prices are climbing, too. Part of this issue is caused by a reduction in truckers who transport fuel. Fuel costs also affect holiday shopping as people make more in-store purchases this time of year. Higher fuel costs cause shoppers reluctance to drive around looking for the best deals.
Truckers also feel the squeeze of higher fuel prices. Fortunately, affordable truck insurance has remained relatively stable keeping those costs under control. Insurance policy options are one area where truckers find exactly what they need at reasonable prices.
Limiting of Grocery Items
A lot of people are anxious about recent shortages because of holiday meal shopping. Grocery stores are experiencing a reduction in the amount and types of items they normally stock. This is frustrating customers who want to serve their traditional meals with the brands they choose. Stores are lining shelves with signs apologizing for missing products.
A lack of grocery items is making supply issues tangible to customers. They also see the critical nature of trucking companies and independent trucking operators in the day-to-day economy.
Missing Brand Choices
Many brands are experiencing short supplies of all types of products. Truckers are part of this scenario as they work to deliver delayed goods for thousands of companies. Shipment issues are a nightmare for businesses whose manufacturing quotas are behind. When these items arrive at warehouses, the ability to deliver them in a timely fashion is nearly impossible.
There are no simple answers except to chip away at the gridlock slowly and steadily. Further supply interruptions or massive amounts of purchasing can lead to further disorder.
Part of the joy of the holiday shopping season is going to restaurants with family and friends. This is another area that has been hit hard by supply delays. These ripples travel throughout the economy as people stay home because their favorite restaurants aren’t serving the usual fare or have limited hours.
Truckers are pushing to get food to suppliers with available stock. The knock-on effect is people who stay at home tend to order more things that must be delivered.
What Can Ease Holiday Shopping Delays Due to Truck Driver Shortage?
While long-term solutions to truck driver shortages and system troubles are needed, there are ways to help calm the crisis in the present.
Changing Consumer Habits
Decreasing the demands for merchandise is an immediate way to alleviate pressure on the supply chain and relieve seasonal stress on the trucking industry. Truckers deliver 70% of the freight that travels through the U.S. With the arrival of online shopping, they are moving constantly to meet on-time delivery expectations.
Americans are used to having things brought to their doors quickly and efficiently. This is changing the culture of shopping. The economy slowed during the pandemic, but consumer buying soared as businesses reopened. This proved the appetite for goods remains strong. However, consumers can provide relief by limiting their consumption and pacing their purchases in the short term. Small shifts have a huge impact on the system overall.
Shopping Earlier for Items
Shoppers need to order gifts and other things as soon as possible, so the frenzy of last-minute holiday shopping doesn’t slow deliveries to a crawl. As the supply chain flow relaxes, people will have a better shopping experience both now and in months to come.
Truckers appreciate peoples’ patience throughout this time of year. It is always a hectic time, but the extraordinary circumstances of the year will require extra time to get back on track.
About Western Truck Insurance Services
Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes. Contact us today at (800) 937-8785 to learn more!