WASHINGTON (Reuters) — U.S. President Joe Biden will provide details on Monday of his administration’s plans to step up the number of truck drivers by drawing in more women and veterans, as the White House moves to strengthen national supply chains.
In a statement, the White House said Biden would be joined by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in outlining the efforts to remedy long-standing weaknesses stemming from workforce challenges in the trucking industry.
The moves are part of a year-long drive to stiffen U.S. supply chains against climate shocks and geopolitical tension, so as to ensure that China or other nations cannot weaponize the supply of goods against the United States.
Biden has focused on rebuilding U.S. supply chains after acute shortages of personal protective equipment, including masks and gloves, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a dearth of semiconductors that made cars costlier and helped push inflation to 40-year highs.
The plan to boost the numbers of truck drivers, launched in 2021, has swelled hiring, with more commercial driver licenses available in the first two months of this year versus last year’s corresponding period, the statement said.
Trucking moves 72% of goods in America and some carriers routinely lose, and must replace, 90% of their workers each year, White House figures showed.
(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Bradley Perrett)