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Shortages creep back into stores

Truck driver shortages impede deliveries
Posted at 6:34 PM, Sep 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-27 21:34:35-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — When you go to the store you might find tighter supplies of essentials like toilet paper. It’s not as much pandemic hoarding as it is a shortage of the people who deliver the goods.

If you use it, there's a good chance a truck brought it to you, but now a shortage of truck drivers could be getting in the way of you getting the stuff you want.

Before something lands in your shopping cart a truck probably brought it the last miles from the processing plant or cargo port.

But a shortage of truckers is raising concerns about a shortage of products.

Costco has said it will limit the amount of cleaning supplies, toilet paper and bottled water you can buy.

Basha’s says:

“We are watching product availability and our supply chain very closely, but as of right now, we have not implemented any purchase restrictions on any items.”

Mark Miller is the President of the Arizona Food Marketing Alliance, the organization that represents Arizona grocery chains. He says they’re not limiting purchases right now but there are growing problems just getting products packaged up and ready to sell.

“So if somebody has a soap or a shampoo or something that sometimes the containers might be coming from a different part of the world, and then the product is filled here in the United States but that is experiencing some shortage too as the containers are being held back at some of the ports. And then, again it's a constant balance between keeping your inventory of what you need and projecting what you're going to be using, 30 to 60 days out.”

Anthony is a truck driver who says he’s carrying carpets that could be part of the home building boom. Truckers say there are more loads than drivers to move them.

“We pick up about anything whatever you wear, we move it, everything, it's all kind of loads.”

As truckers retire, the industry is not seeing enough new drivers come in to replace them.

Julian Franco mostly delivers cattle. High demand, low driver counts and lack of younger drivers joining the profession have kept him busy. He says people are not eager to sign on for that sort of hard work.

“No one wants to learn how to haul cows because you know it's a profession that you have to know what you're doing to not get hurt and no one wants to put in the long hours and the paperwork and they think you just sit there and hold the steering wheel.”

The driver shortage predates the pandemic but as in so much of life the virus added more strain to systems already headed for trouble.