Mid-South logistics networks prepare for peak holiday shopping period

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 5:10 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Cyber Monday is an exciting time for shoppers, but current supply chain strains could mean delays to getting your packages.

As one can imagine, shopping through the deals of Black Friday and Cyber Monday means more load to bear for logistics networks.

“We’re just really struggling in order to bring people into the industry at the rate that we need to,” said Shannon Newton, president of Arkansas Trucking Association (ATA), earlier this month.

Newton told us trucking schools are at limited capacity, due to COVID-19, and carriers are showing low retention rates, meaning experienced truck drivers are in short supply in Arkansas.

It’s a problem that’s popping up across the country.

“We are facing an increased demand for transportation services across the board, and we just haven’t seen people entering into the industry at the same pace at which they exited throughout the pandemic,” Newton added.

On the rail, Burlington Northern and Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway saw historic levels of volume in their network when we spoke with railway representatives in September.

At that time, reps told us they were adding 20 percent lifting equipment and personnel to facilities like Memphis.

Monday, the railway told us they have seen a break in the volume.

“Shop in real life as much as possible,” Newton advised. “Buy things you see on the shelf, or choose to buy gift experiences this holiday season. [It] will increase your likelihood of not being disappointed.”

President Joe Biden spoke with company CEOs Monday, including Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, on the supply chain backlog.

Biden was supposed to issue remarks for the press Monday afternoon.

That has now been pushed back to Wednesday.

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