And we've seen the images of ships and containers sitting with no place to go. U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg of President Joe Biden's administration said efforts are underway to ease the bottlenecks.
He said encouraging more young people to consider a career in trucking could provide some relief. Currently, there is an estimated 80,000 truck driver shortage in the country. And the trucking industry hauls more than 70% of all freight transported in the U.S. Mike Burton is the president of C-and-K Holdings, which includes C-and-K Trucking in Chicago Ridge.
"The truck drivers between 18 and 20, the young adults that would like to become truck drivers it's very difficult. In some states they're allowed intrastate which means they can just operate in specific state they can't go across the border or more importantly they can't carry interstate goods and the majority of goods comes from outside of the state or across the state borders. And so it really limits them," Burton said. "The government along with the American Trucking Association is trying to put together a program that's been approved and to allow the young truck drivers to be able to come into the marketplace."
So, are their flaws in the U.S. supply chain? Maciek Nowak is a professor of supply chain management and the interim dean of the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University.
"It was risks that companies have taken that didn't foresee a pandemic. Companies for quite some time now have really been looking at creating a very tight, well-run supply chain that is based on perfectly balancing supply with demand," Nowak said. "Inventory costs money. You don't want to carry any extra inventory so you really want your supply to match exactly what your demand is. And so that's driven around really ideal forecasting. And if you think about a company like Google or Facebook how they make so much money off selling data about us that all drives theses forecasts. So, they know exactly what we want, when we want it. And that drives a precise well-tuned supply chain. None of those models forecasted a pandemic."