It is safe to say that Covid-19 has become the global news story for the foreseeable future. Both now and in the early days of this global pandemic, much of our attention was rightly focused on the public health ramifications of Covid-19. With about three million confirmed cases and more than 200,000 deaths around the world, this has been one of the most far-reaching and deadly pandemics in recent memory.
Nevertheless, the economic effects of Covid-19 cannot be understated. Tens of millions of people are out of work and in-person commerce has essentially ground to a halt (except for “essential businesses” like grocery stores and pharmacies).
While every business in every sector is trying to figure out what’s next, one fascinating industry attempting to navigate Covid-19 is the trucking industry. Ultimately, Covid-19 is yet another challenge that is going to affect some truckers more than others. As businesses in many other industries, the focus will be on long-term survival.
Doing Business Amidst a Global Pandemic
Even though many of us are under lockdown orders, truckers continue to travel across the United States, delivering goods and supplies to keep America running. That being said, the long-term economic effects of lockdowns and quarantines will likely be stark. We are already seeing some of these effects for fleets transporting goods for certain sectors or industries.
Simply put, it is feast or famine for different types of trucking operations. For example, fleets with customers in the auto business are feeling the pain, as auto manufacturers have closed their plants and are not manufacturing new vehicles. Even though restaurants and bars may not be completely closed, the foodservice industry is suffering, which flows down to truckers transporting food and beverages across the country. According to the International Foodservice Distributors Association, the next three months will result in about $24 billion of losses due to Covid-19.
That said, there have been compelling opportunities for fleets that haul things like hand sanitizer, toilet paper, groceries, and other essential supplies. Urgent orders of retail goods are driving up spot rates for things like van and reefer equipment. The pharmacy and health sector is also increasingly important for truckers, as hospitals and other healthcare institutions are in dire need of personal protective equipment.
As you can see, supply chain disruptions and macroeconomic shifts have affected the trucking industry. At least for the short-term, truckers’ fates will depend on their particular sector. Those truckers who are transporting grocery or refrigerated goods won’t see as large of disruption as those that are in the general freight space. Those in the general freight space will likely see fewer loads—especially if the U.S. economy experiences a deep and long-lasting recession.
Even if truckers have a packed schedule ahead of them, their job has become more difficult because of safety concerns. Traveling across the United States and stopping at truck stops, truckers are uniquely vulnerable to becoming infected with Covid-19. Upon being infected, truckers cannot complete their work, meaning that essential goods are not delivered on-time.
Because of this, the trucking industry has responded. For instance, the American Trucking Association has urged Congress and the Trump administration to supply truckers with personal protective equipment and sufficient access to testing. While this is still a work in progress, trucker safety is at the top of mind. This includes everything from protection from Covid-19 infections to general road safety.
Covid-19 is unlike anything that we have seen in our lifetimes. It’s unclear how this global pandemic is going to play out, but what is clear is that every industry, including the trucking industry, needs to be proactive. Both personal safety and economic safety are a priority, whether you are the CEO of a trucking company or hauling a load across the United States.
Truckers that are traveling across the country have to tread lightly. Not only are there the dangers associated with Covid-19, but there are the standard risks when traveling long distances. Ultimately, if you find yourself in an accident and are looking for a truck accident lawyer, we encourage you to research the counsel you are considering. Look for a law firm that has a stellar team of injury lawyers that can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.