As the world’s largest retailer, Walmart (NYSE:WMT) deals with challenges every day of every year. But in 2022, the mega-retailer’s biggest problem may be one the company hasn’t ever faced before: An enormous national trucker shortage. Which alludes to today’s focus — AV stocks.
Data from the American Trucking Association’s trade group shows that the shortage of U.S. truck drivers hit an all-time high of 80,000 workers in 2021. That number is expected to climb even higher this year.
That’s very problematic for Walmart. They’re in the business of selling goods. And a critical component of that is transporting those goods all over the country. If Walmart can’t get its hands on enough truckers to transport stock, its business basically falls apart.
So… what’s Walmart doing? They’re making a push to recruit more truckers.
Two days ago, the retailer announced that it’s raising its first-year trucker pay up to 25%, as high as $110,000. Simultaneously, it’s launching a 12-week training program so people can earn their commercial driver’s license and become a Walmart truck driver.
But this big push is economically unsustainable. Walmart can’t offer $110,000-plus salaries to thousands of truckers long-term, especially with gas at $5-plus per gallon. It’s just too expensive for a low-margin retailer!
Make no mistake. This big push is just a temporary fix to one of the retailer’s biggest problems.
The permanent fix? A shift towards autonomous electric trucks.
And helping Walmart make that big shift may be one tiny tech stock trading for less than $2 today.
Here’s the story.
Walmart Can’t Afford Expensive Truckers
Long-term, Walmart can’t pay truckers six figures every year and cover gas expenses at more than $5 per gallon.
Walmart is a low-priced retailer. The company’s business is built on the idea that if you’re looking to save money, you shop at Walmart. Indeed, low prices are built into its very identity. And it’s something the business will never change.
Consequently, Walmart is and will forever be a low-margin business. Last year, operating margins were about 4.5%. They usually hover in the 2% to 5% range and will likely never crack above 5%.
That’s just the Walmart business model — low prices, low margins.
As a perpetual low-margin business, Walmart needs to watch its expenses. Even a tiny cost bump could meaningfully impact profits by diluting already low profit margins.
A 25% increase in trucker pay, plus a 20%-plus jump in gas prices, means more than a tiny expense bump. The company employs about 12,000 truck drivers. And those drivers put in hundreds of miles every single day. Add it all up, and that’s a substantial cost increase.
To that end, it’s obvious that while Walmart is offering higher pay to recruit more drivers, it’s a temporary fix. It can’t afford to keep adding thousands of drivers with $100,000-plus salaries while gas is north of $5 per gallon.
That’s why we think it’s inevitable that Walmart will not just ditch this high trucker pay-push. It’ll ditch its truck-driver workforce entirely.
How is Walmart going to do that? By embracing autonomous electric trucks.
Autonomous Electric Trucking is Ready to Go, and so Are AV Stocks
Some folks are reading this, thinking: “There’s no way Walmart replaces its drivers with self-driving trucks anytime soon!”
I understand that response. Ostensibly, it seems like autonomous vehicles are a foreign concept — something that won’t happen for years. And to be sure, autonomous passenger cars may, indeed, be a long way off.
But autonomous trucking — and, specifically, the autonomous delivery of goods — is already happening right now!
For example, Uber Eats is leveraging a fleet of driverless cars to deliver food and other goods across the nation. Domino’s (NYSE:DPZ) is delivering pizzas autonomously using mini self-driving cars in Houston. 7-Eleven has launched its own autonomous delivery service in California. And Kroger (NYSE:KR) is using self-driving cars to deliver groceries in Phoenix and Houston. Add FedEx (NYSE:FDX) and TuSimple (NASDAQ:TSP) to that list, too.
Folks, the Autonomous Vehicle Revolution has arrived.
Sure, it’s probably not what you thought it was going to be. We aren’t all getting in our cars and having them drive us around the city. But in most major metros, we are beginning to see self-driving technology power trucks and delivery vans.
That’s where we are in the AV Revolution. This is the first stage, when the world rolls out a bunch of autonomous vehicles to transport goods. Once that’s been perfected, we move into the second stage. And those self-driving vehicles start their transport of people.
In other words, we are at a critical inflection point in this revolution. Autonomous vehicle technology is ready to deliver goods across America while retailers like Walmart are feeling a massive trucker shortage.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to connect those dots. Autonomous trucking is ready to change the world as we know it. Not in 2025 or 2030 — today.
Indeed, autonomous trucking is already prepared to solve Walmart’s biggest problem.
The Final Word on AV Stocks
It’s a great time to start buying AV stocks. Their “coming out” party will happen in 2022. And as every major retailer automates their transportation logistics, I think the best AV stocks will keep partying until 2030.
However, these stocks are only one way to play the shift toward automated logistics.
That’s because, as I mentioned at the top, it’s not just higher trucker wages that are creating headaches for Walmart. Those high gas prices are hurting, too.
There’s just one tiny problem there. Due to the physical limitations of modern battery chemistry, today’s electric trucks can’t drive very far. Their batteries run of out juice after a few hundred miles.
But one tiny tech company is working to fix this problem. It’s developing a proprietary “forever battery” technology that could allow trucks to go thousands of miles on a single charge.
Needless to say, what this tiny company is working on is potentially revolutionary and even world-changing.
Yet, its stock price is trading for less than $2 right now. This means you have an opportunity to get in now for potentially explosive long-term gains!
Find out the name, ticker symbol, and key business details of this tiny tech company — and win big.
On the date of publication, Luke Lango did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.