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Supply chain issues continue across the country

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 4:55 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 12, 2021 at 5:39 PM CDT
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ULLIN, Ill. (KFVS) - Right now, we’re paying more at the pump, searching empty shelves and waiting weeks longer for what we can order.

But the root of the current crisis is not just supply, it’s demand.

According to MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics’ Director Yosi Sheffi, the demand issue is leaving carriers overwhelmed. In addition to this, the shortage in delivery drivers and warehouse workers is clearly not helping.

“I don’t believe there will ever not be a shortage,” said Shawnee Community College Truck Driving instructor Kelly Jennings

Jennings believes as the shortage of drivers is ongoing and stores will feel that burden.

“More and more goods are not going to be delivered as long as the driver shortage keeps up, more and more folks are going to be without their products that they need everyday,” explained Jennings.

Jennings said no one solution will solve the driver shortage.

“The average age of a truck driver right now is 55 years old. If we don’t start bringing in younger folks and minorities into the trucking industry there’s not going to be nowhere near enough drivers in the future cause all them older drivers are fixing to retire,” said Jennings.

Jennings expressed that home life is also important for many drivers, who spend countless days on the road.

“We as a trucking industry have to figure out ways that we can still get the loads hauled and still have more home time,” said Jennings.

One of Jennings students is 18-year-old Ben Philippe. He said the shortage will allow him to get into his career quickly.

“Everyone’s going to take you, you know what I mean, it’s just easy pickin’s now. Like all you need is just come to this class get that CDL and then guaranteed a job,” said Philippe.

However, younger drivers could face obstacles when it comes to long haul trucking positions. Currently, in the lower 48 states drivers younger than 21 are not allowed to transport goods across state lines.

According to the American Trucking Association, in 2019 the U.S. was short 60,000 truck drivers. By 2023, that number is expected to grow to 100,000.

Chacari Johnson, who is wanting to fill that void of a shortage of drivers, said she wanted to break the norm.

“I felt like it was a man field but I wanted to try something different and it’s challenging but if you’re willing to learn then it’s something worth while,” explained Johnson.

To attract more drivers, some companies are increasing pay, giving signing bonuses and changing schedules to allow drivers more time off.

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