Spencer Young, the owner of City Lights Collectibles, a Christmas décor superstore in San Diego, Calif., said he is depending on supply chain issues “getting resolved quickly” ahead of the holiday season.
Appearing on “Fox News Live” Sunday with Young, Truckload Carriers Association Vice President of Government Affairs David Heller warned that supply chain disruptions are being amplified by the lack of “qualified drivers.”
He said the biggest challenge for truckload carriers right now is “without a doubt” finding qualified drivers.
“Going into COVID, we were already about 60,000 drivers short as an industry,” Heller said, noting that the pandemic had made the situation worse.
“Those numbers have been amplified, forcing early retirements for drivers out there on our roads today,” he went on to explain, noting that as a result, it has been tough to find drivers to transport freight from ports to stores.
“It’s just a massive labor shortage going on in our industry and it continues to grow as we get into this holiday season,” Heller warned.
Young explained that “normally our displays are finished, our Christmas trees are decorated and we’re ready to go for Christmas.”
However, because of supply chain issues, his displays are not yet finished and the trees aren’t decorated.
“We are simply still waiting on the goods to arrive,” Young said.
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“We’re hoping they’re going to be coming in soon, but we’re hearing about delays and we’re also hearing some products that we have on order we won’t actually be getting at all this year,” he continued.
On Wednesday, President Biden called for private sector businesses to “step up” and assist his administration’s latest push to address the supply chain crisis that has sparked fears of empty shelves during the critical holiday shopping season.
Biden’s push coincided with the White House’s announcement that the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will shift to 24/7 operations to clear a cargo backlog. Several prominent retailers and logistics companies, including Walmart and UPS, have agreed to extend their hours of operation in response to supply chain disruptions.
Supply chain disruptions have hindered efforts to bolster the U.S. economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Key raw materials needed for construction and components such as semiconductors are in short supply, while a labor shortage has contributed to a shipping logjam at major ports.
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Several major companies have noted higher logistics-related costs and disruptions to their normal operations. The issues have also impacted consumers in the form of empty shelves and higher prices, prompting fears that lower spending will slow the economic recovery.
Young said on Sunday that it is “critical” for the supply chain issues to get “resolved quickly” because “We definitely need the product.”
“We’re dependent on it,” he stressed.
Heller said he does foresee some improvements in the short-term.
“I see some valid changes in the logistical environment,” he said, explaining that more flexibility would allow drivers to be more efficient.
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“Right now our drivers are averaging about six and a half hours of drive time per day out of the eleven hours of drive time that DOT [Department of Transportation] actually allows per regulation,” Heller explained.
“So just a 30% increase, let’s say giving them two extra hours by reducing detention time, circumventing congestion time, would allow these drivers to actually continue to drive and get further down the road to deliver these goods to the stores that actually need them.”
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FOX Business’ Thomas Barrabi contributed to this report.