The holidays could become more complicated this year as the shortage of truck drivers continues to grow.
The American Trucking Association reports there is a shortage of 80,000 truck drivers across the country.
“There was a driver shortage of around 60,000 drivers headed into the pandemic,” ATA Executive Vice President for Advocacy Bill Sullivan said.
As the truck driver shortage continues to grow, coupled with the delay at U.S. ports, products could take longer to make it onto shelves ahead of the holidays.
Salaries are also increasing for truck drivers. According to the American Trucking Association, pay has gone up over 25% since 2019. Some companies are now offering six-figure salaries to get drivers on the road.
“Salaries are increasing, but it’s not good for the consumer, we’re all going to end up paying the price,” Patterson High School Teacher Dave Dein said.
Dein is working in a supply chain and logistics program at the rural California high school. He’s responsible for training students to learn how to drive a truck.
“It’s just something I can do to help with one of the issues that’s happening in our world now,” student Avien Newton said.
Newton said he doesn’t know if he plans on going into the field, but the American Trucking Association said younger truck drivers are desperately needed. Women are needed too in order to help bridge the employment gap.
“It’s a male-dominated industry and it’s important to know the girls do just as good as the guys do,” student Yasmine Lewis said.
Only 10% of truck drivers are women, according to the Women in Trucking Association.
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However, students at Patterson High School also have the opportunity to learn and train for other jobs in the supply chain and logistics program.
Kimberly Brinkman, director of the high school programs, said students can even take forklift operating classes and warehouse management classes along with the truck driver training course. “They’re absolutely ready to get behind the wheel, it’s not like a normal 18-year-old getting behind a big semi,” she said.
“Without trucking, there’s no food on the shelves, warehouses can’t get their supplies,” Newton said.
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Gas prices also continue to rise across the country. There’s no shortage of fuel, but the shortage of truck drivers is causing fuel delivery delays at some gas stations.
But for now, these supply chain issues and the shortage of truck drivers means you’ll be paying more when shopping.