Has the Computer Chip Shortage Affected the Trucking Industry?

November 7, 2022 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Many people have been affected by ongoing supply chain issues. In recent months, finding computers has, at times, been especially difficult. Head into a grocery store, and you might come across empty shelves and rising prices. Supply chain shortages have also strained trucking and logistics services. With computer chips scarce, truck manufacturers have struggled to meet demand and maintain operations amid a shortage of semi-trucks.

When people think of computer chips, their minds may first wander to laptops and smartphones. That said, computer chips are found practically everywhere. Your toaster, fridge, watch, or practically anything else may contain computer chips. Vehicles, including semi-trucks, often contain numerous computer chips. With chip manufacturing under heavy strain right now, many companies have been forced to slow or idle production. Certainly, that’s true for the semi-truck industry. Chips are vital components, and without them, semi-truck manufacturers are struggling to put trucks on the road.

Quite simply, the ongoing chip shortage has restrained semi-truck production. Chipmakers are scrambling to increase production, but the lead time can stretch into years. Building a semiconductor manufacturing facility requires time and lots of resources. As such, supply chain shortages may not be relieved for some time. This means semi-truck shortages may continue long into the future.

Shortage of Semi-Trucks Impacting Supply Chains

In recent months, semi-truck dealerships have run out of stock within a matter of weeks. Many semi-truck dealerships aren’t expecting more unspoken-for deliveries until next year. With trucks in short supply, logistics chains have come under strain, resulting in rising costs and various bottlenecks.

Maintaining prices has also proven difficult. Often, the price that a manufacturer needs to charge to make a profit is simply too high for many companies and truckers. A truck that may have retailed a few years ago for $40,000 could now be selling for more than $60,000. Add in high fuel costs, labor shortages, and other factors, and many shippers are struggling mightily even as shipping rates rise.

Rising costs, meanwhile, are ultimately passed onto consumers, thus spurring inflation. And as inflation rises, semi-truck companies may face increased headwinds, having to spend more on labor, maintenance, and other costs. This creates a potent feedback loop with inflation amplifying shortages across the board.

The impact of rising semi-truck shipment rates could have an especially profound impact on the United States, which relies on trucks to move roughly 70 percent of goods. A lack of trucks and truck drivers has also contributed to massive buildups at major ports, which can result in expensive storage fees and other challenges.

Shipping is an immensely complex industry with a lot of moving parts, and issues affecting one particular stage of a logistics network could quickly reverberate up and down supply chains. Likewise, the semi-truck shortage is also complex and could result in unanticipated problems. For now, the shortage of semi-trucks is likely to continue to strain supply chains, but manufacturers and truck drivers, among others, are working hard to provide relief.

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