A vaccine mandate order by President J.B. Hunt Transportation Services would further complicate the supply chain bottlenecks that developed in the wake of COVID 19 pandemic according to Biden.
There are over 3.5 million truck drivers in America, and this occupation is the most common in 29 U.S. states to date.
A vaccine mandate will be a lot of bureaucracy, said L.J.B. Hunt Chief Operating Officer Nicolas Hobbs on Friday's third-quarter earnings call by J.B. Hunt. I don't see it really helping the situation much other than confusion in the supply chain even more. Hobbs added that J.B. hunt would comply with any mandate approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
A mandate would likely result in drivers who are skeptical of the vaccine choosing another line of work or staying home, as have happened in other professions where workers were forced to choose between their health concerns and job.
Trucking executives say the industry is grappling with the most severe labor shortage in almost four decades as the industry faced a 60,000-drive shortfall before the pandemic.
Since 2019, trucking companies have hiked wages by 25% in an effort to attract drivers into the industry. They also offer five figure signing bonuses that can stretch into the cash budgets of their players. But even those efforts failed in easing the driver shortage.
The inability to find drivers has exacerbated the logjam at U.S. ports which led to shortages and higher consumer costs
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told FOX Business earlier this week that the Biden administration is looking into narrowing regulations for truck drivers in an effort to alleviate the bottlenecks.
Measures being considered include increasing the number of permisable hours for drivers and expediting the process for sending out commercial driver licenses among other things.
The Biden Administration earlier this week ordered Los Angeles Port, the nation s busiest container port, to operate around the clock in order to reduce the congestion of tens of thousands of containers. However, scaling up those operations could take months to be completed and a local port in Long Beach, California might have other problems.
COSTCO, But it is not just a shortage of truck drivers that causes the delays. Customer warehouses are also dealing with a workers shortage, which slows down turnaround times.
There is a significant bottleneck in our customers capacity to dump the demand they have, said J.B. Hunt's intermodal unit, adding that customers have to process supply chains more efficiently to accomplish their goals. J.B. Hunt for its part has weathered the supply chain logjam fairly well.
Lowell, Arkansas-based shipping and logistics company reported its quarterly profit increased on Friday to $199.8 million or $1.88 per share, as all of its units were profitable. Revenue was up 27% to $3.14 billion ; revenues were up 37% since 2015.
That compared to earnings of $1.77 per share on revenue of $3 billion that analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting.
J.B. Hunt stocks were up 41% this year through Friday compared to the S&P 500's 19% gain.