The Impact of COVID-19 on the Trucking Industry
The impact of coronavirus is there for all to see. It has affected almost every industry around the world, and people are now wondering which industry will be left standing. The trucking industry is the last one to be affected, which could signify danger for both truckers and people waiting for goods. There is no doubt that people might be wondering how COVID-19 has impacted the trucking sector. This article highlights some of the effects that the spread of the Coronavirus is bringing to the trucking industry.
Professional Truck Drivers
At the best of times, truckers face many challenges including lack of parking, long hours, difficulty eating healthy meals, high stress, and being paid by the mile rather than for all time. During the Covid-19 pandemic, truckers are facing even more strenuous challenges as they struggle to bring the nation vital grocery, medical supplies, and essential needs.
Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, there are now rest area and service plaza closures, even more truck parking restrictions, further food limitations and availability, lack of bathroom and shower facilities and the availability of PPE. They are also battling with the fear and guidance of what to do if they get infected on the road.
These are additional stressors that truck drivers do not need right now, but find themselves facing.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the pandemic. This means for drivers that some stress is relieved, however, most company drivers still are only paid for the miles they drive.
1. Truckers Losing Jobs
Although there is tremendous demand for truckers delivering food, pharmacy, and medical supplies, many drivers are currently losing jobs in other sectors as their trucking companies slow down or even close their operations until further notice. This has led to considerable financial distress to most of these drivers who have been depending on these trucking sectors for income generation and sustainability.
The 2 Trillion dollar CARES Act, the Covid-19 stimulus bill relief package, will be a tremendous relief for company drivers as well as Owner Operators, however to sustain their financial well-being in the meantime, we might see an increase in the number of online loans Texas truckers (and those in other states) are applying for in the coming months. This is the only source of income for drivers before they can see receive aid or resume their trucking duties.
2. Demand for Drivers
In the trucking industry, some trucking companies are cutting down on the number of employees, while others are looking for drivers. Trucking companies working in the transport of food, medicine, medical equipment, and other essentials have experienced a boom in their sector. All these essentials are in huge demand across the world, which explains why there is an increased demand for drivers who can help the companies in these sectors with meeting the growing demand.
3. Limited Movement
Trucking companies are known for long-distance services that they have been offering in the United States. Most of them have been providing coast to coast services for many years. However, the fact that the concentration of virus spread is restricted in specific cities, most of the trucking companies are choosing where to transport products and where not to transport. In as much as these companies want to remain in operations, they do not want to expose their essential employees to the virus. A March 25 report from the Supply Chain Analysis Network found that truckers “have been much more likely to reject offers to deliver” to the New York metropolitan area.
4. Cargo Selection Headaches
Previously, most of the trucking companies did not think much about the type of cargo they were transporting unless it was hazardous. However, everything has significantly changed since the emergence of COVID-19. Specific types of cargo are in much higher demand than others. Van and reefer are in demand while flatbed has fallen significantly. Companies and sole proprietors are in a race to secure the contracts for transporting these essential products. Those who traditionally found themselves transporting non-essential items must find new suppliers in order to stay operational.
5. Warehouse Closures
Warehouses are essential in the trucking industry as they act as distribution centers for most of the trucking companies. However, in the last few weeks, many of these warehouses are closing down including an Amazon facility in Kentucky. These closures are either due to the lack of consistent cargo to sustain their operations or in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. It is essential to highlight that most of the cities have instructed companies to close down and encouraged workers to move into self-isolation as a method of preventing the spread of the virus.
As COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, most of the sensitive industries will directly or indirectly be affected. The trucking industry is one of the essential sectors in the United States because it helps in the transportation of the necessary commodities to various corners of the nation. As it stands, the transport and the logistical industry is bleeding, and no sooner, people may experience an acute shortage in the supply of various products.