‘Shortage of Truck Drivers’ NOT to Blame For Worsening Supply Chain Crisis, Group Argues
Washington D.C. – As the supply chain crisis worsens by the day, one trucking group is urging politicians and media not to blame the problem on a shortage of truck drivers.
In a statement in response to President Biden’s speech from the White House on Wednesday addressing the nation’s supply chain woes, Todd Spencer, CEO of the Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA), said the growing narrative that a shortage of truck drivers is contributing to the problem is false.
“Let’s be clear, the current supply chain crisis is not due to a shortage of truck drivers!” Spencer asserted. “Because the real bottlenecks in the supply chain occur at pickup and delivery points, adding more trucks and drivers will simply makes the lines longer, NOT faster.”
To Spencer’s point, social media is filled with accounts of port truckers waiting hours and hours for a load.
A number of posts revealing conditions at the ports have gone viral in recent days as many truckers say they are being unfairly blamed.
@chasman52There Is No Driver Shortage!!♬ original sound – ChasMan52 @juanolivares05Port congestion is not our fault #OneSliceChallenge #HotwireHotelGoals #trucker #port #christmas #cars♬ original sound – Recklezz
In response to the worsening crisis, President Biden announced today that two crucial shipping hubs — Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach — will both soon be operating on a 24 hours a day schedule.
Mr. Biden also challenged retailers and trucking companies to work harder to help alleviate “freight bottlenecks.”
“We need major retailers who ordered the goods and the freight movers who take the goods from the ships to factories and stores to step up as well,” the President said. “If the private sector doesn’t step up we are going to call them out and ask them to act.”
OOIDA’s Spencer fired back.
“Most of what we are seeing is not a surprise to our members who have been plagued with dysfunction in the supply chain for decades and it’s not realistic to expect the supply chain will suddenly operate efficiently on a 24/7 schedule when drivers aren’t being fully paid for their time,” he argued. “Drivers are experiencing the domino effects of supply and staffing shortages which are preventing them from complying with federal regulations.”
Spencer claims the way to immediately improve the situation is by “valuing and compensating all of a driver’s time.”
He also called on the U.S. Department of Transportation to do more to address the crisis by making some “emergency allowances” on issues regarding “drug and alcohol testing delays and difficulties finding replacement electronic logging devices, DEF filters, and CPAP machines.”
Meanwhile, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) has long-argued trucking is plagued by a labor shortage.
The U.S. Senate’s recently passed $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill includes an “apprenticeship program,” which would allow drivers as young as 18 years of age to operate big rigs cross-country.
ATA asserts the program is desperately needed in order to help alleviate ongoing supply chain disruptions.