A new report has shown a link between the rise in grocery costs and the national shortage of long-distance truck drivers, according to Supermarket News .
The analysis, which was released Monday, Dec. 3 by Florida-based driver virtual simulation company Advanced Training Systems (ATS), demonstrated that higher freight costs and even ingredients costs are the culprits.
Several major food manufacturers have already announced their price hikes for the upcoming year, including Hershey, Nestle, Unilever, Mondelez, and Coca-Cola.
John Kearney, CEO of ATS, said that the situation is somewhat “self-created,” meaning that growth of trucking fleets and railroads hasn’t kept up with that of the U.S. economy.
Now, current numbers from the American Trucking Associations suggest that the industry is facing a driver shortage of at least 50,000. By 2026, this shortage could skyrocket to 174,000.
Kearney noted that the first concern of the trucking industry is that lack of qualified drivers necessary to carry the nation’s freight. He also said in the study that the industry could benefit from attracting younger drivers.
However, new legislation may help to fill industry demands. The Drive-Safe Act, which was introduced in March, would enable drivers with CDLs between the ages of 18 and 20 to operate in interstate commerce under certain restrictions.
Participation in a two-part training program would also be required.
Currently, while most states allow drivers to get their CDL at age 18, they aren’t permitted to transport goods interstate until the age of 21.
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