Drivers needed to fill nationwide trucker shortage

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RICHLAND, Miss. (WJTV) – Many trucking companies are looking for applicants because of a nationwide shortage. President and CEO of KLLM Transportation Jim Richards said the coronavirus pandemic has affected both national and local trucking businesses.

“A driver shortage is nothing new to us, however, I will tell you– especially in the last four weeks with the stimulus checks going out– we have seen a number of applicants applying for truck driving jobs to be very very low,” said Richards.

Richards said he has witnessed a decline in the three truck driving schools he runs, dropping by 50 percent. Stimulus checks are to blame, he said.

“When we came out of the pandemic, the stimulus checks passed out really hurt our industry in a bad way. Just as you’ve seen at restaurants, we’re seeing that happen with dock labor. A lot of our customers can’t unload us when we arrive because they don’t have adequate, so it’s affecting many industries across the board.”

Reports indicate that due to the shortage of truck drivers, there could be a supply chain shortage as well. Richards said a shortage in fuel supply and items at the grocery store are possible for people to see, similar to what was experienced last year during the pandemic.

“It’s not just the companies that pay the price, at the end of the day it will be the consumer too,” said Richards.

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