Mark Willis, host of SiriusXM’s Road Dog Trucking News, told Breitbart News on Monday that vaccine mandates imposed by the Biden administration and businesses are exacerbating an existing national shortage of about 80,000 truck drivers.
Willis reflected on supply chain breakdowns and interruptions driven by government decrees and industry regulations ostensibly imposed to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
“The trucking industry is about 80,000 drivers short,” Willis said on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow. “Now, when you think about that, that is an incredible number that has grown tremendously since the pandemic. At one point, 60,000 drivers were needed. Now, it’s up to 80,000. So we’re kind of in a log jam.”
He added, “[Truck drivers] are the masters at social distancing. They are in the trucks 11 hours a day, pretty much driving. They’ve got a 14-hour duty cycle, but many, many times, the men and women driving these big rigs are by themselves, and they don’t come into contact with a lot of people at all. If they do come into contact with somebody — say, a shipper, for example — it’s now done digitally, where the transaction is done by cell phone. It’s done by an electronic bill of lading. So a lot of times, that driver is really not going to come in contact with anybody. So, they are indeed the masters at social distancing out there.”
Willis noted that Chris Spear, president and CEO of the American Trucking Associations, warned of harm to supply chain logistics caused by government and industry imposition of vaccine mandates for truck drivers.
Today’s Trucking reported:
American Trucking Associations (ATA) president argues that the looming U.S. vaccine mandate would see affected carriers lose 74% of their unvaccinated employees or 34% of their driver workforce as drivers leave to small carriers, retire or resign.
In a September survey, it found that only half of surveyed drivers were vaccinated, and 62% of the unvaccinated said they would not get vaccinated under any circumstances, with a similar number saying there were no incentives the company could provide to change their mind. If facing a vaccine mandate, 25% of the unvaccinated said they would leave the industry.
Willis remarked, “We’ve got a shortage of drivers that are not able to get into the ports. We’ve got a [broader] driver shortage situation going on, as well.”
Supply chain interruptions driven by “COVID restrictions” would likely last months, Willis estimated. “It’s going to take many, many months — maybe deep into next year — before we see any kind of movement towards unraveling this,” he predicted.
He added, “I’m thinking it’s going to get worse. This is not going to unravel anytime soon. The toys that I think a lot of parents have been wanting to buy for the holiday season are not going to be there. I think that we are going to be looking at major supply issues going on for quite a while.”
He went on, “So my words to the folks out there listening is, ‘Be patient, America.’ This is going to take a lot of time to unravel, and rest assured, the trucking industry is doing everything within its power to deliver the goods to the storage shelves and do it safely.”
“There’s been a lot of pushback from the trucking industry as far as the president’s vaccine mandate is concerned,” he noted. “The American trucking. Associations recently sent a letter to President Biden expressing what they term ‘grave concern’ over the potential damage that the president’s plans for the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for many businesses.”
Exacerbating the existing shortage of truck drivers through vaccine mandates “would just be completely devastating to the supply chain for the whole country,” Marlow warned.
Willis emphasized the centrality of trucking to America’s supply chain logistics.
“[Truckers] haul 80 percent of America’s freights,” he said. “The industry is the lifeline between the economy and Main Street, U.S.A. I think we need a better public relations campaign to explain to the mainstream what the industry brings to the table.”
Breitbart News Daily broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.