Labor shortages directly affect the ability of local, regional, and global supply chains to move goods. Although COVID-19 helped to exacerbate supply chain disruptions, the logistics and transportation industries have made it challenging for companies to diminish risks to supply chains worldwide. In the US, the Great Resignation also had an impact on supply chains with over 4.4 million people quitting their jobs. 11% of the resignations were in logistics.
In 2021, the truck driver shortage reached 80,000 and is predicted to reach 160,000 by 2030. Manufacturing companies have stated that they will have nearly 2 million job openings by 2030. In addition, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce states that there are over 10 million open positions and only 7 million qualified workers to fill the roles. This is affecting logistics and trucking industries around the world because they must compete with other industries such as retail, hospitality, and construction to fill roles.
Due to being understaffed, warehouses and distribution centers are not able to operate at full capacity. The rise in e-commerce sales has worsened delays and have resulted in material and inventory shortfalls for both retailers and manufacturers. As consumers spend more money on purchases, the strain on supply chains leads to stock-outs, shipping delays, higher prices, and lowered consumer satisfaction.
The logistics and transportation labor shortages are also affecting other industries. Because of the lack of truck drivers, shipping containers are sitting in ports for an extended period of time. This has made it difficult for shippers to move inventory from ports to warehouses and distribution centers. In addition, a lack of longshoremen and dockworkers has caused delays in container unloading at ocean ports.
Although there is a strong demand for logistics and transportation labor, companies remain understaffed. In response, wages have increased however this has caused operational costs of business to rise. Outsourcing labor from 3PLs is one way for companies to meet their needs, improve supply chains, and be cost effective.