No matter where you shop, products are probably trucked in

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Shop at home is a common and worthy mantra, but covers only so much of the local economy.

Whether bought at the corner mom-and-pop store, or by clicking “buy it now” an e-tailer’s site, your purchases likely have something in common.

At some point, they’ve both been hauled into town in the back of a truck.

Over-the-road freight is nothing new, but the advent of online retailing has put pressure on trucking companies, which are in charge of delivering those goods.

“Trucking is right now experiencing a severe crisis,” Robert Csonger, vice president and general manager at chipmaker Nvidia told CNBC. “There’s a shortage of trucking drivers driven by the Amazon age.”

If you think about it, you will agree. Drive home after work or spend time in the yard, and you’re likely to see an approaching brown or white truck stopping to deliver something to your home or your neighbor’s.

The American Trucking Association says trucks account for more than 70 percent of all tonnage moved in the U.S.

Drivers are retiring every day, and others are leaving the occupation because of poor compensation for the long hours spent away from home and family.

Adding to the pressure e-commerce is putting on the trucking industry is the new federal mandate for electronic logging devices.

Taking effect last December, the requirement for electronic logging devices makes sure drivers log every hour, rather than starting the clock only after picking up goods from a warehouse. As a result, drivers can easily exceed the legal limit.

Some carriers are experimenting with driverless trucks, but it’s hard to imagine widespread public acceptance of microchips controlling 80,000 pounds of truck and cargo roaring down the Interstate at 80 mph any time soon.

The numbers indicate that anyone contemplating entering a new career or changing occupations would do well to look at the trucking industry.

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