If you’ve walked into a store in the last couple of years and found empty shelves, you’ve experienced the perfect storm of a supply chain crisis and years-long shortage of American truck drivers.
The American Trucking Association (ATA) estimates roughly 72% of American freight is transported by trucks, and further posits that the U.S. is short more than 80,000 truck drivers. Experts have gone on the record to dispute such high estimates, but there’s generally agreement on how dependent American consumers are on the trucking industry for the delivery of goods.
To learn more about the industry, Stacker put together a timeline of the history of trucking in America. It’s a long and winding road complete with stunning innovations, larger-than-life personalities, bloody conflicts, shipments delivered, and deadlines met.
The supply chain disruptions we’ve been hearing about since early in the pandemic continue into 2022 as the Canadian government is scheduled to enforce a vaccine mandate beginning Jan. 15 for truck drivers crossing the border. This would apply to all federally regulated trucking operations. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has required truck drivers working for companies with 100 or more employees to be vaccinated or partake in weekly testing. The Supreme Court on Jan. 7 listened to arguments related to overturning two Biden Administration policies meant to raise coronavirus vaccination rates.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) estimates that anywhere from 12,000 to 16,000 border-crossing truck drivers could be lost if the border-crossing vaccine requirement goes into effect. More than two-thirds of goods traded between Canada and the U.S. are transported via roads and highways. The ATA is one of several groups seeking to appeal Biden’s mandate. The ATA argues that though they encourage vaccination for members in the trucking industry, there’s concerns regarding the impact of the federal mandate such as intensifying driver turnover and further creating supply chain disruption.
Keep reading to learn about the evolution of the industry that’s responsible for delivering 70% of everything you eat, drink, wear, and own.