Just as people are breathing a sigh of relief that the pandemic is over and life seems to be returning to normal, there are reminders that there is still a long way to go. Nicole DeJoris, president of Lombard, Illinois-based Pinnacle Packaging, said the truck driver shortage will continue to affect retailers and their customers, with no end in sight.
“The shortage of truck drivers makes it difficult to move goods throughout the country at the pace we’ve been accustomed to. Look at the shelves in any store to see empty spaces where some of your favorite products used to be. This directly affects my ability to procure products my customers need in a reasonable timeframe,” DeJoris said.
When it comes to packaging supplies, her top-selling products, DeJoris advises clients to “stock up. Products are no longer guaranteed to be available in seven to 10 days. One of my clients is even renting warehouse space and buying annual quantities so they won’t have a disruption in packaging supplies, and another has been waiting six weeks for an item that used to be delivered in 10 days.” The supplier still cannot tell her when it will ship.
How did it get to this point? The American Trucking Association estimated the driver shortage in 2021 was at an all-time high at more than 80,000 drivers, the difference between how many drivers were currently on the job and how many were needed based on freight demand.
In a recent study, the ATA said, “at current trends, the shortage could surpass 160,000 in 2030. This forecast is based on driver demographic trends, including gender and age, as well as expected freight growth…Over the next decade, the industry will have to recruit nearly 1,000,000 new drivers into the industry to replace retiring drivers, drivers that leave voluntarily (e.g., lifestyle) or involuntarily (e.g., driving records or failed drug test), as well as additional drivers needed for industry growth.”
The key to avoiding the pinch felt by this disruption, DeJoris said, is planning ahead. “Don’t leave purchases until the last minute. Plan well ahead, so you have wiggle room if an order or shipment is delayed. This applies to my customers as they order shipping supplies and other items, but it also applies to everyone, from businesses to individuals. With the holidays coming fast and demand increased, shopping early will be important.”
Pinnacle Packaging is committed to using its knowledge of the packaging industry to provide customers with the latest supply and packaging design information. When standard packaging supplies alone are not enough, it works with customers to provide custom packaging solutions.
For more information, visit PinnaclePackaging.net.