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High Demand For Dry Goods Is Taxing Supply Chains

The shelving along a supermarket aisle is completely empty of products.
Brian Bahouth
The Sierra Nevada Ally
Shelves that contained toilet paper, tissues and paper towels were empty at a Save Mart in Reno, Nev. on Sunday, March 15.

On Thursday and Friday, Nevada stores saw a 20% surge in demand for dry goods. Panic buying is testing the nation’s system of freight transport, but according to a Nevada trucking industry spokesperson, the supply chain will soon catch up with demand.

Imagine if the demand for products ramped up to peak holiday volume in the space of a couple days. Without a doubt, there would be a lag in the supply chain. Inventory would be sold first. Producers would make more of the products in demand, and motor carriers would take the products to retail locations and direct to consumers.

“The reality is, we have a supply chain that can meet these demands. We are meeting these demands," said Paul Enos, the CEO of the Nevada Trucking Association. "Is it getting a little taxed right now, absolutely. We’ve gone through about a month and a half of inventory and a number of products in four days.”

Enos reported that trucks are queuing at terminals for record times, waiting to load and unload cargo. In response, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration relaxed hours of service rules for commercial vehicle drivers late last week, which has allowed truckers to drive for longer durations without mandated rest.

KUNR Contributor Brian Bahouth is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Sierra Nevada Ally. To read more on this topic, visit The Sierra Nevada Ally.

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