Truck driver shortage hitting home for local business

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — According to the American Trucking Association, trucking is the lifeblood of the U.S. economy. The trucking industry brought in nearly $800 billion dollars in 2019. However, it can’t do that without drivers.

Whether its food, cars, holiday shopping items, household deliveries, or industrial items, trucks make up a large part of our national supply chain. The most important thing to a truck full of goods, is the driver behind the wheel to deliver it.

However, just like every other industry this year, a hiring shortage is hitting some trucking companies and the companies they deliver to are suffering because of it. Supply chain issues from ports across the world, a post pandemic economic boom, and a renewed infrastructure vision for the U.S., one local mining company is seeing the strain that is impacting how they do business after seeing an increase in demand.

Phillips Global here in Beckley is a business dedicated to mining equipment. Warehouse Manager BJ Dickerson, said with steel demand rising, coal mines are needing their equipment in top shape.

“That’s the biggie with us right now is lead times for parts that we need to build this machine right now. I think its across the board. It doesn’t matter where you go in the mines right now, its pretty much the lead times on the parts,” Dickerson said.

As politicians in Washington continue to push for infrastructure investments, global steel demand climbs, ports remain clogged, and trucks are left sitting without drivers, supplies needed for business will take longer to get. Dickerson said he is simply ordering ahead just to accommodate the longer lead times and so far, he and his company have been successful. Only time will tell on when the trucking industry will get back to normal.

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