Trucking group chief says industry ‘at edge of cliff,’ says bad policies exacerbating supply chain crisis

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(Video: Fox Business)

American Trucking Associations chief executive Chris Spear is warning that the cumulative effects of inflation, vaccine mandates and a slow return to adequate work force numbers has placed the U.S. trucking industry “at the edge of a cliff.”

Spear was interviewed by Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo on Tuesday, and he described in detail how the disastrous policies put forth by the Biden regime are “exacerbating the supply chain’s ability to meet demand.”

“I think a year of policies that have led us there generally stem from rewarding people not to return to work,” he continued, noting that he believes that has contributed to the “chronic shortage of talent, not just in trucking where we’re short 81,000 drivers, but across every sector of employment.”

“I think we are at the edge of a cliff right now,” Spear told the host.

During the first week of January, the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLTS) was released by the Bureau of Statistics which showed that vacant positions were at 10.6 million in November 2021, after reaching a record of 11.03 million openings in the previous month.

Of the slow return to work, Spear remarked, “It’s really having an impact. You are seeing that in [a] 40-year high on inflation.”

American Trucking Associations and other industry groups had previously warned the Biden regime in November that vaccine mandates for the private sector would only amplify supply chain problems and shortages of consumer goods.

An open letter to President Biden from the American Trucking Associations, National Private Truck Council and Truckload Carriers Association said at the time:

Our industries are committed partners in the fight against COVID-19, and we unequivocally support the use of vaccines to fight its spread. However, we are concerned a mandate will cripple an already strained supply chain. We estimate companies covered by the mandate could lose 37% of drivers at a time when the nation is already short 80,000 truck drivers. We ask for flexibility for transportation and supply chain essential workers, particularly truck drivers who spend most of their time in their trucks and have minimal contact with colleagues and customers.

While we represent different industries, we share the common burden of current supply chain disruptions, which are driving up prices and leading to a growing shortage of goods in the United States, with the holidays just around the corner.

 

Thankfully, the U.S. Supreme Court just recently blocked Biden’s federal vaccine mandate – though not for healthcare employees – which would have been tyrannically enforced by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).

Nevertheless, supply chain woes and inflation appear to be going nowhere, at least in the near term.

According to Fox Business, although energy prices fell 1.1 percent in December from the previous month, they’re still up 29.3 percent from last year. Gasoline, on average, costs 49.6 percent more than it did last year. Food prices have also climbed 6.3 percent higher over the year, while used car and truck prices – a major component of the inflation increase – are up 37.3 percent.

“We are all taking a pay cut in 2022 as a result of bad policies,” Spear argued on Tuesday.

The trucking executive predicts it may take at least three quarters before the industry – and by extension, every consumer in America – experiences any relief.

“But it doesn’t have to be this hard or this long if you institute good policy, rather than just being perceived as doing something, you’ll move out of this COVID-induced rut a lot faster,” Spear explained, blasting the policies of the Biden administration, including vaccine mandates which he contends are “adding additional headwind” to an industry that is “moving 72 percent of the domestic freight.”

“If you’re concerned about the supply chain, adding additional layers and mandates on top of that is not going to make it any easier,” he argued.

As BPR reported Wednesday, in an attempt to remedy at least one contributing factor in the ongoing U.S. supply chain crisis, the federal government will soon allow teenagers to become truck drivers under a new apprenticeship program that was given life by the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.

Currently, most states allow persons 18 and over to become truckers, but they cannot drive across state lines until they are 21. The new pilot program, first introduced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2020, would change that practice and allow those aged 18 to 20 years to operate commercial vehicles in an interstate capacity.

The newly-proposed program has the support of the American Trucking Associations among other groups, though Spear was not asked about it during the interview with Bartiromo on Tuesday.

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