Springfield trucking company explains impact of pandemic shortages

Updated: May. 9, 2021 at 10:44 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Lumber, ketchup, and rental cars are all seeing shortages amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, the trucking industry joins the nationwide list. Many trucking companies continue to experience shortages in some capacity. The biggest impact is a shortage in truck drivers.

Derek Raulston, Trail Liner Corporation General Manager, has been in the industry for more than 20 years. Although he said the industry took a similar hit a few years ago, he says they’ve never seen it like this before.

Raulston explained the pandemic is having a chain effect on day-to-day business, and the shortages go beyond the lack of drivers.

He said since the height of the pandemic, the business has been soaring because there’s been an abundance of freight to haul from pharmaceuticals to produce. However, he said this means more people are trying to put trucks on, which is impacting the industry significantly.

“Another thing affecting the shortages is that vendors are having trouble getting parts to the manufacturers because they’re having a shortage of parts and getting the microchips that go inside of them, which is why they can’t get the trucks built.”

When this happens, Raulston said, many of the trucks get delayed by several months. He explained that a lot of that has to do with running too many miles out of their trucks.

“It’s the shortage of trucks that hits hardest,” said Raulston. “Holding onto your trucks for an extra 100-200,000 miles really drops the value of your truck and you don’t get the trade-in value that you usually should.”

Which is why he said they’ve been putting extended warranties on their trucks.

“This impacts us because if we get drivers, we’re not able to add on trucks, and we have to turn drivers away. In this industry, it’s hard to come by drivers, so you don’t want to ever have to turn any away that you don’t need to.”

Raulston said all of these factors brought on by the pandemic adds up. Right now, he said Trail Liner is doing pretty good, but Raulston said it’s causing them to think outside the box and play it by ear. But they’re standing by for what the future may hold for the industry.

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