Trucking companies hit especially hard by surging gas prices

Morning In America

(NewsNation) — As gas prices surge to record levels, a logistics industry still reeling from supply chain disruptions and worker shortages due to the COVID pandemic is feeling the brunt again.

“Everything that you have touches a truck,” said Cherri Harris, the CEO of Swint Logistics Group, on “Morning in America” Monday.

Harris, who runs Swint Logsitics out of Detroit, fears the rise in logistics costs will ultimately be passed on to the consumer.

“If you were running freight for Walmart and those costs go up, who do you think that’s going to end up on?,” said Harris.

The surge in gas prices comes at a time when Americans are already paying significantly more for nearly everything due to a historic rise in inflation. Last week, the Consumer Price Index showed consumer inflation jumped 7.9% over the past year, the sharpest spike in 40 years.

Over the past two weeks, the average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline shot up a staggering 79 cents to a record-setting $4.43 per gallon.

For many in the trucking industry with diesel engines, the increase has been even more pronounced, increasing $1.18 over two weeks, to $5.20 a gallon. Diesel now costs $2.11 more than it did one year ago.

Harris said she’s been able to weather the staffing crisis in part because everyone on her team has already completed training for their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) — CDL wait times had grown nationwide during the pandemic.

If needed, Harris said she is willing to get behind the wheel to preserve her company’s reputation.

“I drove 15 years before I started my business and if I have to get in the truck to keep my reputation 100, I will. I don’t own any equipment that I cannot operate,” said Harris.

When asked what Harris wished people knew about the trucking industry, she underscored the importance of truck drivers to the nation’s economy and how they have been hit hard in recent years.

“Truckers need more money — the loads need to be increased, the rates need to be increased,” Harris said.

The change in consumer buying habits brought on by the increase in gas prices has also strained the trucking industry — more people are shopping online to save on gas, which ultimately increases the need for shipping and transportation.

All of this has companies like Swint Logistics looking for alternate revenue streams. Harris empowered truckers to do the same.

“I would encourage truckers to try and find alternate ways to partner with companies or warehouses where you can get direct contracts and you can be in control of the money that your truck makes,” she said.

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