During the course of the spring, the coronavirus pandemic has turned American lives upside down, putting many industries on hold. One branch of the economy that has seen an uptick in business is the trucking and transportation sector. But an increase in need does not necessarily mean a stress-free work environment.
In a recent article published by Yahoo Finance, a group of trucking professionals explained some of the surprising hardships they’ve faced while on the road. Yes, there’s a need for products like toilet paper, canned goods and other grocery staples, but the rapid spread of the virus and its ability to infect almost anyone has put a crunch on logistics and driver safety.
1.) New safety protocols. Many truck drivers report that they’re now required to undergo temperature checks whenever they drop off or pick up a new load of goods. Any fever means a strict two-week quarantine and no pay. Some suppliers aren’t taking chances. Instead of asking truckers to have their temperature taken, they’re communicating everything via text. Truckers no longer are allowed to make contact with warehouse employees. Some truckers even say they’re being asked to wait in their cabs until everything is loaded or unloaded. Afterward, they’re required to go to another part of the facility and pick up paperwork that’s left outside.
2.) Fear or unwillingness to visit certain areas of the country. The same article from Yahoo Finance (mentioned above) says many trucking companies are worried about transporting goods to virus hot spots like New York City, New Jersey and New Orleans. As a result, companies are having to scramble to find drivers who are willing to take the risk. Some entities are even offering higher salaries and benefits packages to encourage drivers.
3.) A drop in jobs. Certain areas of the trucking industry are in high demand; freight and groceries, for example. Other trucking businesses are seeing a significant decline in business. This is particularly true for freight companies that serve the business sector. Because many office buildings are shut down, there’s a steep decline in the need for printer paper, pens and printer ink. Trucking businesses all over the country are getting creative in order to pivot and survive.
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