U.S. trucker shortage worsens
Vaccine mandates have intensified a long-term shortage of truckers in the United States, the industry says.
“There’s no question that the vaccine mandates between the United States and Canada right now are creating difficulty,” said Jon Eisen of American Trucking Associations, speaking at a Washington, D.C., panel discussing supply chain woes, website Producer reports.
However, the underlying issue of too-few truckers has been around for years and it’s getting worse.
“The challenges we’re facing aren’t exactly new,” said Eisen.
In 2019, there was a shortage of about 60,000 commercial truckers in the U.S. During the pandemic that has grown to about 80,000.
The problems stretch beyond the number of truck drivers. Many warehouses are short-staffed due to COVID-19 worker absences, so truckers often must wait longer when loading or unloading. That further reduces the effective driver pool.
“Workforce issues are critical when you’re taking individuals out of the workforce,” said Eisen.
The current border issue compounds the existing problems bedevilling virtually all U.S. commercial goods transport. About 74 percent of domestic U.S. freight is moved by truck, the ATA says.
“Reducing trade is not something we’re in favour of,” said Eisen.