This article originally appeared on KTVN Channel 2 News.
Supply chain issues are having a ripple effect in the United States. One of the problems is the number of cargo ships that are stacking up in U.S. ports.
“When that happens, it really stalls our getting consumer products into the domestic supply chain as well as raw materials so manufacturers can make everything that they need to,” Adam Angle, Senior Vice President of ITS Logistics said.
ITS Logistics is a Sparks-based company with about 600 employees, including 170 truck drivers. The delays in shipping are adding to demand and costs.
“We do over 20,000 shipments a month, so we definitely feel all the peaks and valleys and the highs and lows there,” Angle said.
President Joe Biden says the ports will be operating around the clock, so that could alleviate some of the delays. Enos says that is just one problem in the supply chain though.
“We’re hopeful that the ports running 24-7 will help away some of those issues,” Paul J. Enos, CEO of Nevada Trucking Association said. “The reality is, trucking companies, we’re already working 24-7.”
Trucking is one way Nevada is affected by the lag in the supply chain but there are a lot of other factors that are slowing it down. The problem is very complex.
“It’s folks that are unloading the ships, it’s the people that are using the cranes to put those containers on a truck, it’s the warehouses, it’s the folks at the final destination to unload those containers and get them onto the store shelves,” Enos said.
It is estimated that there was a shortage of 60,000 truck drivers before the pandemic. Salaries have risen by 25 percent since 2019 for drivers.
“We’re seeing a huge demand with limited capacity, limited truck drivers and we’re also having an issue getting parts for trucks,” Enos said.
ITS Logistics is growing with demand. It doubled its revenue last year and it is on pace to double it again, this year. Angle says the company’s ability to find solutions to challenges is a big reason for its success.
“If stuff’s going to be delayed, people communicating with us so we’re planning and staging everything correctly, so we’re able to communicate to the people downstream, so they’re prepared appropriately,” Angle said.
The supply chain issues are happening during the busiest time of the year for shipping. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner. Enos says demand started picking up back in August and the backlog could have impacts during the holidays.
“There is a shelf life for a Halloween costume or soccer uniforms for soccer season, so when that stuff doesn’t get from those ships to our store shelves, that does have a drag on the economy,” Enos said.
“Really going to take a lot from the team and communication to get through everything so everybody can enjoy their Thanksgiving and their Christmas,” Angle said.
ITS Logistics is hiring about five truck drivers each week. It plans on hiring 40 more. That has been challenging during the pandemic. The average age of a truck driver is 47 and when older drivers retire, it is hard to replace them with younger workers. They have to be 21 years old to get a commercial driver’s license but some DMVs closed during the pandemic, so that slowed the process down.
“The DMV here did a really good job of getting that up, fairly quickly,” Enos said. “I think it was only closed for three months but we have seen that backlog.”
Truck drivers are required to pass drug and alcohol screening, which has reduced the number of drivers. Enos says a vaccine mandate could also hurt the industry.
“Conservatively, nationwide, we may lose 10 percent of our drivers who don’t want to be mandated to take that vaccine,” Enos said. “So that could put even a greater stress than what we’re experiencing today on the supply chain.”
Some smaller trucking companies closed during the pandemic and never did reopen. That left larger companies like ITS Logistics to pick up the slack and take on more of the load. That is one reason why it needs more drivers. It also has 220 team members that work on the logistics and sales side of things. 20 new employees are starting next week and the company has even more openings.
“We’re the only ones that are actually talking to drivers, talking to the dispatchers, talking to the customers trying to win the business, then finding the drivers to match up the loads,” Molly Campau, Director of Recruiting and Training for ITS Logistics said.
Filling those jobs has not been as easy as it has in the past, either.
“We used to spend all day going through resumes of people that apply whereas now, it’s just a couple applicants a day,” Campau said.
The cargo coming into U.S. ports are from other countries. Enos says that is a reminder that Americans rely on foreign goods for a lot of things and that bringing more manufacturing back to the U.S. would alleviate some of supply chain traffic. That would take quite some time to accomplish though.
To apply for a job at ITS Logistics, follow this link: