The trucking industry accounts for over $700 billion in revenue every year in the United States alone. Over 80% of all goods that are consumed every day by Americans are transported by trucks. While truckers and the trucking industry are under constant scrutiny, the fact is that without freight the country would stop. With the impending trucker shortage, there has been an increase in speculation on the country’s dependence on trucks. But what exactly would happen if one day the trucking industry collapsed?
Food: Thank the Trucking Industry for Eating
In the event of a trucking industry collapse, food supplies would be affected almost immediately. While larger stores would see the most immediate impact from a depletion of perishable goods, smaller stores would run out of all supply very quickly. The American Trucking Association (ATA) estimates that significant shortages would occur in as little as three days and that the shortages would be expedited by consumer panic.
Healthcare: Trucks Bring Medical Supplies
Perhaps the most disastrous impact would be on the healthcare industry. Many hospitals and care providers only order supplies, such as syringes and bandages, on an as-needed basis, so in the event of a trucking industry collapse, critical supplies would be depleted in a matter of hours. Equally as catastrophic, pharmacies would soon run out of life-saving medications.
Way of Life
The little things that we take for granted would soon be considered long-gone luxuries if the trucks disappeared. There would be no one to deliver fuel to gas stations, and automobile transportation would become impossible within a week. With no means for transportation, people would be unable to access work, run errands or attend school. At the same time, garbage would start to pile on the sides of streets and would quickly reach an overwhelming level, especially in heavily populated areas. While gross, more concerning is the fact that this would provide an ideal breeding ground for disease. Even banks would suffer, as they run out of cash and are unable to process transactions.
The Takeaway: The Trucking Industry is America’s Backbone
It’s important to be reminded every now and then of how crucial the trucking industry is. Although a trucking collapse overnight is highly unlikely, the industry faces incremental problems like driver shortages and limited capacity. To avoid disruption we need to make the entire process more efficient. And to treat truck drivers as important as they are: the backbone of American logistics.