Truck driver shortage affects local companies

Truck driver shortage affects local companies

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Tom McGee, president of Advanced Marketing International in Wilmington, has had to raise the prices of the products he distributes in the past year.

It's not because it's costing him more to make products. It's because the cost of shipping has increased due to a nationwide truck driver shortage.

"It's much harder to get trucks lined up," McGee said. "It used to be you could get (a driver) in a day, the same day. You can probably get it, but the prices are so high that you have to wait a couple of days to get a price that you're comfortable with."

According to the Washington Post, there was a shortage of 51,000 truck drivers at the end of 2017, up from 36,000 in 2016.

Truck driver Jesse Canupp has been driving trucks for close to 20 years.

"I enjoy it. I wouldn't do nothing else. It's what I do," he said. "It's what I love and you've got to have it in your heart to do it.

"If not, you don't need to be doing it. You never learn everything there is about trucking. We learn something new every day out here," Canupp said.

McGee said his company outsources through MegaCorp Logistics to find truckers like Canupp. Leaders at MegaCorp said the company has had to raise its rates because of supply and demand, which in turn causes shipping costs to rise.

Those increased shipping costs can add up for a small company like Advanced Marketing. According to McGee, MegaCorp warned him in October 2017 to prepare for a rise in rates from 10 to 15 percent.

"We're really feeling it now with the prices and the lack of being able to get a truck quickly," he said.

McGee has raised his prices to compensate, but when his company ships from one coast to the other, he said it can be hard to keep up.

Canupp said he is away from home Monday through Friday, and that schedule can take a toll on some drivers.

"It's hard, but you've got to have a good family, a good woman to back you," Canupp said. "If you don't, you're not going to make it out here. A lot of drivers end up in multiple marriages and divorces because they just don't have a strong support out of both the driver and the spouse."

The American Trucking Associations predicts the shortage could get worse before it gets better.

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