Local impact of the nationwide truck driver shortage

Pine Belt

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – As summer travel increases, many people may see fewer trucks on the highway. The trucking industry said there is a shortage of drivers and that could affect everything from the price of gas to the delivery of some goods.

Hodum Trucking Company said they have seen a decrease in truck drivers in the past year, and it’s having to shift schedules to keep up with demand.

Ellen Hodum, co-owner of Hodum Trucking, said, “We would drive down to Slidell and usually would have loads we would take there, but the construction job sites would be closed, and they would be closed for months. So we would have to find other things. They opened up some Florida loads and that kept us busy.”

Hodum said the pandemic made it hard and some drivers left the business or retired.

“I got several trucks here that’s empty. I’ve had some drivers to leave me, and I get very attached to my drivers. It really hurts when they leave me.”

Hodum said she is hopeful that an increase in drivers will happen as things begin to return to normal.

“I have some of the best drivers in the world, and my husband is one of the hardest working men. We’re just one big ole family.”

According to the Nation’s Largest Trucking Trade Association, the problem started well before the pandemic. In the Pine Belt, it could have an impact on what you pay at the pumps. Across the county, there’s been a truck driver shortage and this could mean higher gas prices this summer. Hodum is concerned about gas prices affecting here business.

“We’re scared as a company of what it could do to us, the gas prices, and when you try to get parts, you can’t get it because it takes so long to get them in.”

The American Trucking Association said the industry needs to hire more than a million truckers over the course of this decade to help offset demand.

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