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The Washington Post reports on how the trucking industry is experiencing a “perfect storm,” as it faces “an extraordinary labor shortage” at the same time as there is a rising demand for freight services tied to an improving economy.

What this means, the Post writes, is that “higher transportation costs are beginning to cause prices of anything that spends time on a truck to rise. Amazon, for example, just implemented a 20 percent hike for its Prime program that delivers goods to customers in two days, and General Mills, the maker of Cheerios and Betty Crocker, said prices of some of its cereals and snacks are going up because of an ‘unprecedented’ rise in freight costs. Tyson Foods, a large meat seller, and John Deere, a farm and construction equipment, also recently announced they will increase prices, blaming higher shipping costs.”

The Post goes on to say that “the United States has had a truck driver shortage for years, but experts say it's hitting a crisis level this year. There's even more demand for truckers now as just about every sector of the economy is expanding and online sales continue to soar. On top of that, the federal government imposed a new rule in December that requires drivers to be on the road for no more than 11 hours at a time and track their time by an electronic device so they can't cheat.”
KC's View:
And this doesn’t even include the higher costs related to rising gas prices.

This is something that Michael Sansolo has written about from time to time here on MNB, and that never seems to get any better.

One of the solutions that seems to be under consideration is a faster-than-expected shift to self-driving trucks, which I must admit is one of those technological advances that scare the hell out of me.

But there may be no choice, short of an economic downturn that creates less demand, higher unemployment and decreased costs. I’m not just being hyperbolic here. The story actually makes the point that higher costs have an impact on profits, which could inhibit economic growth.