A major overhaul of supply chains and manufacturing hubs appears to be underway and the changing landscape leads to new truck driving opportunities.
“There’s clearly a supply chain redesign underway, but not everyone is moving in the same direction or even to the same extent,” Kamala Raman, VP with the Gartner Supply Chain practice, reportedly said. “Supply chain leaders have been modifying networks in a number of ways, be it with expansions, consolidations or simply modifications to buffers — which are more reversible than footprint decisions.”
The challenges of truckers in California have been well-documented. They range from an unwise AB5 law that bans trucker self-employment, bottlenecked ports, disallowing older semi-trucks to remain in the registration rolls, and the country’s highest diesel fuel costs. If there’s a silver lining for fleet drivers and independent truckers, it’s the growing opportunities along the Gulf of Mexico and East Coast ports that desperately need more CDL professionals.
A recent Gartner survey supports the anecdotal information that supply chain leaders are re-thinking and repositioning the way they move goods and materials. According to a study that polled more than 400 decision-makers, 74 percent indicated they already made changes to their supply chain logistics. More than half of those polled said they diversified their supply chain footprint to overcome disruption.
Retooling which seaports are used for imports and exports is not the only way logistics experts and manufacturers are addressing persistent challenges. Companies that previously relied almost entirely on inexpensive Chinese plants and imported to the West Coast are quickly re-imagining the flow of goods. Upwards of 95 percent of leaders polled saw a need to reduce reliance on China and 55 percent already made substantial changes.
After the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles suffered a logjam of more than 100 cargo ships stuck idling off the coast in 2021, companies have engaged in more “nearshoring.” Essentially, manufacturers and assembly operations are moving more work into neighboring Mexico or ramping up production at U.S. plants.
“Already in 2018 and 2019, the U.S.-China trade war made supply chain leaders aware of the weaknesses of their globalized supply chains and question the logic of heavily outsourced, concentrated and interdependent networks. As a result, a new focus on network resilience and the idea of more regional manufacturing emerged,” Raman reportedly said. “Many Western organizations will have to explore new forms of automation on the factory floor to decrease the costs of near- or onshore production. Some also favor a partial option, such as manufacturing in Asia and moving only the final assembly closer to the customer.”
These moves have a significant impact on where truckers are finding freight hauling opportunities. Such changes to the landscape also open doors for West Coast and other truckers across the country to earn high salaries in areas with a traditionally lower cost of living and higher quality of life.