COVINGTON, Ky. — Local business owners are feeling the weight of the nation’s supply chain disruption.
Items are in short supply, and prices are rising.
The owner of Bean Haus in Covington is struggling to get basic supplies. On Wednesday, Tim Eversole said he was able to order to-go coffee cups, but no lids.
“I’m telling everybody who comes in the door, if you have a cup that you can bring, you should bring it,” said Eversole. “As a matter of fact, we’re looking at an exchange program.”
Eversole is trying to remain open as products remain stuck at U.S. ports on the West Coast.
“I need to order my stuff for Christmas and New Year's within the next week if I expect to have supplies,” said Eversole.
Plus, local trucking companies are stretched to the limit due to a driver shortage.
“Even if we had the ports to handle every ship that came in to unload, we would need thousands of professional truck drivers to take those containers,” said Kevin Burch.
Burch is Director of Governmental Affairs for Martin Transportation Systems. He’s been an industry leader for 47 years.
“This didn't happen overnight, and it’s not going to get corrected overnight,” said Burch.
He said, in the meantime, it will affect your ability to get what you need when you need it.
“We're going to have some pain involved with it, and that pain is maybe not having fresh bread,” said Burch. “It’s produce, medicines or parts for automobiles.”
He said the shortage stems from an aging, retiring workforce and new-hire training programs. That training takes place in close quarters of trucks. COVID-19 concerns forced many companies to cut back on training.
Burch said his employer is trying to recruit by explaining the critical role the career path holds in the U.S.
“We are the heroes of the road, but we need more heroes to be trained,” said Burch.
He said truck drivers can start out making $60,000 a year. He said his business is promoting the career path in middle and high schools now.
While certain industries catch up with demand, the backlog at ports has led manufacturers to raise prices. Eversole says a case of coffee cups went from $60 to $196 in the past two weeks.
“We'll be forced to raise prices within the next couple of weeks just to cover costs,” said Eversole.