Ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s supply chain has been front and center. The challenges that it faced while trying to stay open, functional, and at capacity were well documented. However, nearly three full years since the pandemic began in earnest, truckers and other supply chain workers are still struggling. Congress is now stepping up to help those essential workers with the SHIP IT Act.
This act aims to shore up a lot of the shortcomings of America’s supply chain. It includes hiring incentives for new truckers, faster training, and tax credits for current interstate truckers. These economic incentives are designed to attract and retain trucking talent as the industry struggles to get the workers it needs. On top of these incentives, the SHIP IT Act will help shore up infrastructural issues like truck parking and overweight permitting.
Representatives Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Jim Costa (D-Calif.) introduced the bill onto the House floor on January 24. The representatives pointed to supply chain disruptions, both for consumers and transporters, as their reasoning behind the bill. Many advocates for business interests throughout the country have expressed support for the bill.
The SHIP IT Act could help shore up the trucker shortage.
SHIP IT’s coauthors believe that giving grants and other support to the truck transportation industry could result in a better economy for all Americans. One of the main causes of inflation, many believe, is the supply chain’s struggle to keep up with consumer demand. Therefore, if the trucking industry shores up its work, that could help drive down consumer prices. That would certainly make the act a worthwhile investment.
Not everyone is on board, however. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) said in a statement that it supports some aspects of the bill but feels as though it fails to address the root cause of many of these issues. OOIDA said that the main cause of the trucker shortage isn’t recruitment but retention. Indeed, being a trucker, especially an interstate trucker, is a grueling and tiresome career. The conditions many truckers face cause major burnout and are rarely reflected in compensation. While truckers are certainly happy that Congress is listening to them, it may not be approaching things in the right way.