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Bloomberg reports that Walmart, “pinched by the worsening shortage of truckers, plans to double its spending on attracting and retaining drivers by year-end.

“The retailer, whose private fleet of 6,500 trucks is one of the largest in the nation, will offer referral bonuses of up to $1,500, shorten the on-boarding process for new hires by more than a month and broadcast its first national TV ad focused on its 7,500 truckers.”

It is, the story says, a significant problem for Walmart - as the ranks of truckers has shrunk, trucking costs in general have increased because of higher fuel prices and higher demand. And Walmart is vulnerable: “Truckers are a big deal for Walmart -- indeed, its path to retail dominance was plowed by its drivers. Founder Sam Walton began building his own private truck fleet in the 1970s after large trucking companies declined to deliver to Walmart’s mostly rural stores, located far from established trucking routes. Walton would show up at the drivers’ break room at 4 a.m. with doughnuts and talk to them for hours to get a fresh view of how his stores were faring.

“Today, Walmart’s truckers take goods from massive distribution centers around the nation and deliver them to its 4,700 stores in a hub-and-spoke system that allows it to replenish goods quickly.”
KC's View:
Michael Sansolo has been writing here for years about the trucker shortage, and how that industry is facing enormous challenges that could, in fact, quicken the move to things like self-driving vehicles that will help address the problem.

In the meantime, Walmart is doing what it needs to do until those self-driving vehicles are ready to go mainstream.