The Trucking Industry: Carrying the Weight of Overconsumption

My summers during high school were spent in a warehouse of a small local trucking company. My final summer there, I worked in the office and as the front desk person. This meant that I got to experience how much work goes in to processing orders, filling orders, loading them on the truck, and ensuring that the drivers departed with the correct freight. I also know what it is like when someone calls for a rush order, and we all have to scramble to fill it because the customer is willing to pay extra to get the order sooner. My mom still works in the trucking industry and recently shared with me that the trucking industry I knew has become far messier than I ever could have imagined. What used to be an occasional rush order from a customer, has turned in to an everyday occurrence. Orders are coming in faster than they can be filled. There are not enough drivers and trucks to meet the demands of all of the customers. The ports cannot process the amount of containers coming in everyday, which causes backups and even more rush orders. She shared this article with me that I have chosen to write about.

While this article touches on many different aspects that are contributing to the crises in the trucking industry, I think it relates to the concepts we learned in class about overconsumption. We live in a world of Amazon Prime and two day shipping. I know I am guilty of ordering things online that I could easily get in store, even from a local business, because online is just convenient. It shows up two days later on my doorstep and saves me from having to leave my house. The issue is that this has become so integrated in our society, that many of us don’t think twice before putting items in our virtual shopping carts. We do not stop to consider how far those items will have to travel and how much work will go in to ensuring that that new bracelet that was two dollars arrives at your doorstep two days later. So, not only does online shopping allow us to consume even more products because they are available at the touch of a button, it allows us to do so without considering the carbon footprint of those individual products. The article mentions the company HelloFresh. This is a company that ships fresh meals right to your front porch. This means that someone has to receive the order, another person has to fill the order, another person loads the order on to a container, a driver transports that box to a local post office, it is sorted, and then is loaded up onto another vehicle so that it can go out for delivery. All of that work and transportation for one families dinner. This dinner arrives in a large box full of bubble wrap and insulation to keep all of the ingredients fresh. Companies like these are becoming more and more popular. It is so easy in our society to just have everything delivered to us. This means that the transportation industry will continue to face these issues. More and more orders are going to continue to flood in and companies and drivers will struggle even more to meet this demand. Throughout our conversation, my mom just kept repeating that it was such a big problem, and that nobody knows it. The customer only knows whether or not their package arrived on time. While we learn in our class that we need to reduce individual consumption, it is becoming easier and easier to consume more, and that is something we are soon all going to experience the consequences of that consumption.


One thought on “The Trucking Industry: Carrying the Weight of Overconsumption

  1. Fantastic article, Bri! I loved how you brought your experience and thoughts to this piece both as an employee in the industry and as a consumer.

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