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Bloomberg has a story about how the growth of last-mile delivery services, driven in large part by Amazon but also adopted by a wide range of other e-commerce companies anxious to remain relevant, has created a shortage of companies and drivers able to deliver on the promises that online retailers are making.

In fact, the story says, “the rush to bring everything from groceries to gourmet meals to customers’ doorsteps has sparked such a demand that job postings for delivery drivers have tripled nationwide on in the past three years.”

The story goes on: “The dearth of truck drivers needed to carry products from city to city is well documented, but the growth of e-commerce depends as much or more on a steady supply of qualified last-mile car and van drivers … Despite concerns, the forces propelling the demand for more delivery drivers show no sign of slowing. Amazon said in April that its Prime memberships had topped 100 million. Grubhub, meanwhile, works with more than 80,000 restaurants in 110 U.S. markets, up 38 percent in the first quarter of this year from the end of 2017, company filings show.”

It isn’t just a matter of timing and infrastructure: “Along with the intensifying hunt for more drivers is a growing concern about customers getting poorly served or even sick. The restaurant industry is talking with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about ways to prevent food-borne illnesses or other problems arising from third-party delivery.”
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