Until the covid pandemic, most Americans rarely thought about the supply chain and the truck drivers that make it possible to keep store shelves stocked. But, when people went to grocery stores and weren’t able to buy the items that had always been there, supply chains became something everyone learned all about.
Some products were scarce because the pandemic changed our needs. Toilet paper was hard to come by because the rolls we use at home are different from the ones used in offices. With most Americans stuck at home, that meant that we had an oversupply of office toilet paper rolls and not enough of the kind used in homes.
In other cases, supply chain problems were caused by closed production facilities. It takes people to make things and companies had a people problem. Workers were sick, and, in some cases, factories had to figure out how to operate with social distancing.
As a last step, however, manufacturers relied on shipping. That meant trucking, and it was a very difficult period to be a truck driver.
Driving is an isolated job most of the time, but America’s truckers had to operate without many of the support systems that normally helped them on the road, Truck stops were closed in many cases, meaning that the showers, bathrooms, and restaurants used by truck drivers were closed.
It was a bleak period that made many Americans much more aware of the road warriors who keep our stores stocked. Those days also showed how fragile the system is and the impact of losing a fleet of trucks.
America has a shortage of truck drivers.
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Texas trucking company files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy
America already has a shortage of truck drivers.
“More than 80,000 drivers are needed to make up a shortage in America this year. And unfortunately, this problem doesn’t look like it will be solved anytime soon. It is believed that by the year 2030, there will be a shortage of 160,000 truck drivers,” the American Journal of Transportation (AJOT) reported.
It’s a significant problem that makes the loss of every truck and driver significant.
J.J. & Sons Logistics, which operates as JJ Transport, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation “four days before a wrongful death civil trial filed by the family of one of its former drivers who drowned in 2016 was slated to start in El Paso County, Texas,” FreightWaves reported.
The company has been operating since 2000. The company had employed 19 drivers using 18 trucks. Its website, which is still up, shared the following description of the company:
“Fast and friendly, we offer professional services throughout the Southwest area. Our team of pros is up for any job, from big to small. Customers know that we stand behind our work, putting your satisfaction as our #1 priority. What really makes us stand out is our dedication, great prices, and attention to detail.”
In its bankruptcy filing, JJ Transport reported that its assets were $500,000 of less while it reported liabilities between $100 and $500 million.
Truck drivers are a global need
It’s not just the United States that has a shortage of truck drivers.
The International Road Transport Union’s 2023 driver shortage report found more than three million truck driver jobs are unfilled, or 7% of total positions, in 36 countries studied.
“With the huge gap between young and old drivers growing, it will get much worse over the next five years without significant action,” the IRU reported.
The pandemic highlighted why there’s a truck driver shortage. It’s a difficult job that’s often poorly paid.
AJOT said that the shortage has come for two reasons:
“A lack of new drivers coming into the industry: due to the working conditions, low pay, and lack of benefits, many people avoid entering the trucking industry,” the website shared.
Money factors into the second issue causing a driver shortage — drivers leaving the industry,
“Many truck drivers are leaving the industry in search of jobs that offer better pay, working conditions, and benefits. These individuals are no longer happy with spending long hours behind the wheel of their trucks, sleeping on the side of the road, or spending nights in a gas station motel,” the industry site added.