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'Everything has gotten worse' | Memphis trucking company says ongoing driver shortage, transport costs are a challenge for holidays

Those at Mid South Transport, Inc. said shoppers should "get it early" as many factors impact how goods can get to the area from bottlenecked ports.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — Rising gas prices and the international supply chain crunch continues to impact companies and consumers in the Mid-South.

ABC24 News checked back in with a Memphis truck company - Mid-South Transport, Inc. - facing a double whammy: fewer drives and higher travel costs. And that's being passed down to customers ahead of the busy holiday season. 

The company is also down 15% of available fleet of drivers, a small piece of a record high shortage of 80,000 truck drivers nationwide.

"This time of year is really demanding to get the Christmas items in," Mid-South Transport, Inc. VP of Operations Ron Kennedy said.

"The availability of things is going to be slim. The price of things is going to be high," Danny Byrd with Mid-South Transport, Inc. Sales and Marketing added.

That's the holiday warning to Mid-South shoppers from those who know the industry first hand. 

RELATED: 'Most intense it's been' | Memphis trucking company deals with driver shortages, increased costs

"Everything has gotten worse. People want more freight moved," Byrd said.

There's more freight demand but fewer drivers to move product to the Memphis area from Los Angeles, where more and more cargo ships from Asia are struck at sea, holding thousands of containers of holiday gifts and other items.

"You feel like things keep backing up instead of catching up because the demand is so much," Kennedy said.

On top of that, those at Mid-South Transport said a driver's fuel surcharge increased about six cents per mile the past month. That eats into the company's revenues, making everything more expensive down the supply chain.

"Passed down to our customers, right on down to the consumers hands," Byrd said.

RELATED: Christmas trees will be more expensive and harder to find this year

With higher transport costs and more international products in limbo, those in the local trucking industry asked the public to be patient and flexible between now and Christmas.

"It's going to be harder to pick things that you want, that you need, if you don't get it early," Byrd said.

Want to be home for the holidays? Check out our driver benefits and apply online! https://bit.ly/MidSouthTransportDriverApplication

Posted by Mid South Transport on Wednesday, November 3, 2021