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Industry experts fear more supply chain issues due to truck driver shortage

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 10:58 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - There’s always some popular sell-out toy for the holiday season, but bikes are always in demand.

“There were shortages last year, bicycles especially now we’ve gotten in more bikes than last year, some models are hard to get,” said Le Jouet’s Buddy Wood.

Wood says he feels comfortable with their level of inventory going into the busy shopping months, but says some are already tackling their gift lists.

“There are spotty items which aren’t available, but can easily be replaced by another item that can be just as desirable, but every year there will be shortages in toys. I think I’d start looking around now if what you want is available and be prudent about it. Just be somewhat vigilant, don’t wait too long,” said Wood.

This all stems from a backlog of shipping containers at the nations’ ports with unloaded goods waiting on trucks.

“The supply chain is stressed in the motor carrier industry is right smack in the middle of that supply chain,” said Randy Guillot.

As former chairman of the American Trucking Association, Randy Guillot’s Triple G express trucking company sees firsthand where the breakdown is: a shortage of drivers.

“Our workforce has been diminished were roughly 60,000 truck drivers as we speak to coast to coast. Historically the trucking industry we’ve been on the decline as far as meeting there and demand of truck drivers, it’s not a glamorous job,” said Guillot.

Guillot says for the port of New Orleans, the issue isn’t as drastic because the port mainly serves domestic customers.

“We’re not as busy on the export side in Louisiana, and certainly we don’t have the retail distribution areas that other ports around the country may have,” said Guillot.

He says as an industry they’ve pushed for reform in a variety of ways to entice and retain drivers, but without major change, he fears the supply issues may continue.

“Everything you have right now is brought by truck. We deliver about 80% of the nation’s goods by truck, so if you have it we brought it,” said Guillot.

Guillot says they’re also asking Congress to change some of the limitations for drivers. He explained right now, 18-year-old drivers can only drive in-state.

He says relaxing the state-line limitation would allow for more drivers nationwide, and allow for young people to get started in their careers.

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