Truck drivers testing centers and driving schools shut down because of the pandemic, so now there’s a national shortage of truck drivers. Local trucking company ERL Intermodal is having trouble finding new drivers, but Sales Manager George Fanelli says the longer they go without drivers, the more it’s going to cost the consumer.
"If we can’t get out product picked up when we don’t have enough drivers, the imports go what they call demerge, and that’s a fee if you don’t get them picked up in a certain amount of days that we have to pay or pass along to our customers, and that puts a strain on everybody getting their products pulled and getting them up there for delivery."
The shortage of drivers has forced the company to give up some of their business to keep the local customers happy.
"We’ve had to give up some lanes in order to service Central New York here where we can service people better, rather than the Albany/Binghamton area, so it’s put a strain on not only us, the drivers, the customers, it’s affecting everybody."
The problems surrounding lack of drivers is being compounded by the bottleneck of commerce world-wide.
"The volume that’s coming into the ports has kind of tripled in the last 6 months because of the pandemic and the supply chain issues overseas that have shut down."
So until the truck driver shortage is resolved, you can expect to pay more at the store.
"It’s affecting everything. The supply chain all the way up to the consumer, the trucker, and the supply chain as a whole."