There are over 3.5 million truck drivers in the US
There are more than 3.5 million truck drivers in the US, and the profession Most common in 29 US states.
A vaccine mandate “would take a lot of bureaucracy,” JB Hunt chief operating officer Nicholas Hobbs said Friday on the company’s third-quarter earnings call. “I don’t think it’s really helping the situation any more than just confusion in the supply chain.”
Hobbs said JB Hunt will comply with any mandate approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
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A mandate could result in drivers who are skeptical about the vaccine choose a second line of work or stay at home, as has happened in other occupations where workers have to juggle between their health concerns and the job. Was forced to choose.
Trucking officials say the industry is grappling with the most severe labor shortage in nearly four decades as the industry faced a 60,000-driver shortage before the pandemic.
In an effort to lure drivers into the industry, trucking companies have started 25% increase in wages. They are also offering a signing bonus that can extend up to five points. But even those efforts have failed to make up for the driver shortage.
Transport secretary Pete Buttigieg: easing truck rules under review in supply chain crisis
The inability to find drivers has exacerbated deadlocks at US ports, leading to shortages and high consumer costs.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told Granthshala Business earlier this week that the Biden administration is considering easing rules for truck drivers in an effort to clear the roadblocks.
Measures being considered include increasing the number of hours permissible for drivers and, among other things, expediting the process of issuing commercial driver’s licenses.
The Biden administration earlier this week ordered the Port of Los Angeles, the nation’s busiest container port, to operate round-the-clock to ease congestion of thousands of containers. However, those operations could take months to scale up, as happened in the nearby port of Long Beach, California.
Costco, other retailers hit by fewer Christmas trees this year due to drought, supply chain constraints
But it is not just the lack of truck drivers that is causing the delay. Customer warehouses are also dealing with an employee shortage, which slows turnaround times.
“Demand from our customers is a significant constraint in our ability to take off,” said Darren Feld, president of JB Hunt’s Intermodal unit, adding that customers “have to process supply chains more efficiently to achieve their goals.”
JB Hunt, for its part, has weathered supply chain impasse relatively well.
The Lowell, Arkansas-based transportation and logistics company reported Friday that its quarterly profit rose 59% year over year to $199.8 million, or $1.88 per share, as all of its units were profitable. Revenue rose 27% to $3.14 billion.
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Analysts polled by Refinitiv were expecting earnings of $1.77 per share on revenue of $3 billion.
Shares of JB Hunt were up 41% this year as of Friday, compared to the S&P 500’s 19% gain.