Coca-Cola’s New York distributor says it’s short of truckers, after a supermarket CEO complained he was struggling to get hold of the beverage giant’s products

Bottles of Coca Cola
Coca-Cola says it’s struggling to recruit enough truck drivers in New York City. Regis Duvignau/Reuters
  • A New York supermarket owner told Fox Business his stores were struggling to get Coca-Cola products.
  • Coca-Cola’s New York distribution partner confirmed to Insider it had a trucker shortage.
  • Companies say supply chain chaos means deliveries are arriving late or with items missing.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Coca-Cola’s New York City delivery partner says it’s struggling to recruit enough truck drivers in the city, which one supermarket chain owner said was leading to product shortages in his stores.

John Catsimatidis, the owner of New York supermarket chain Gristedes, told Fox Business Tuesday that Coca-Cola “can’t get truck drivers to deliver into New York City.” Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages, which distributes the company’s products across New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, confirmed to Insider that it was struggling to hire truckers.

“Like many local employers around the New York City area, as well as employers across the country, we are currently navigating a disrupted supply chain and labor shortage among different departments, including our fleet management and delivery drivers,” a spokesperson for the company said.

The spokesperson added that Liberty Coca-Cola was “continuously” working to improve its supply chain.

This included offering signing bonuses to new recruits, providing free commercial drivers’ license classes and certifications to current employees, and investing millions of dollars into its local facilities to increase efficiencies, the spokesperson said.

The Coca-Cola Company also owns brands including Sprite, Fanta, Topo Chico, and Minute Maid.

Deliveries are arriving late or with items missing

The US is currently facing a huge shortage of truck drivers, which is causing havoc in the supply chain.

Companies are raising wages to attract more hires and dangling massive sign-on bonuses. One logistics company in Maryland said it would pay all its new drivers a signing bonus of at least $US15,000 ($AU20,433).

The trucker shortage “is symptomatic of the whole labor industry right now,” Dennis Hickey, chief merchandising officer at Krasdale Foods, told Insider in an interview. Krasdale supplies groceries for retail across six states but mainly focuses on independent stores in New York City.

Hickey said that the trucker shortage, coupled with other supply-chain disruptions like port delays and soaring demand for goods, was causing huge problems stocking items. Hickey said that the supply shortages had become worse since mid-June, when “trucks stopped showing up on time” and would arrive up to four days late.

The shortages were “across the board,” including juice, pet food, and “anything in aluminium cans,” he said.

Scott Price, the president of UPS, told AFP on Sunday that supply problems would continue into 2022.

“I half-jokingly tell people, ‘Order your Christmas presents now because otherwise on Christmas Day, there may just be a picture of something that’s not coming until February or March,'” Price said.