Industry Pulse: Trucking Industry Continues Amid Coronavirus
SCL Shares Insight on What Partners in Trucking, Logistics are Saying, Experiencing
In the face of new state-sponsored shelter-in-place mandates, increasing measures to keep people at home worldwide, and economic disruptions in nearly all industry sectors globally, businesses are grappling with how to stay open and afloat.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) has threatened nearly all business, but with a direct tie to getting goods to consumers, trucking has emerged as a necessity.
WHAT’S GOOD IN TRUCKING & LOGISTICS
“The good news for trucking is that a lot of things need to be moved right now,” said SCL Customer Solutions Specialist Amos Molina. “Transportation and logistics companies are all open and doing business. They’re getting goods to hospitals, grocery stores; they’re playing a key role.”
Despite California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement of a statewide shutdown beginning March 20, truckers are still approved to operate. In Marin County, for example, even prior to Newsom’s announcement, the Marin County Commission had issue SCL drivers special permission documents to move goods.
There are challenges that have risen due to closed rest stops and the inability to get food in drive throughs, but by and large, truckers are still moving.
“From what I’m hearing, there have been no layoffs, no one is losing their jobs in transportation, and no one is losing hours,” Molina said. “If anything, truckers are actually in demand. Of all the segments we work in, transportation is probably doing the best because they’re needed the most.”
The one exception is transportation as it relates to tourism. Demand for tour bus companies have taken a nose dive in the face of limits on international travel, event cancellations and the discouragement of large groups by the CDC. According to CNBC, the tourism industry as a whole is predicted to lose $24 billion.
WHAT’S CONCERNING IN TRUCKING & LOGISTICS
Although demand is high right now, Molina said, many partners in the trucking and logistics sectors are worried about the long-term. If commerce across the board decreases, goods won’t need to be moved around.
“When people are not out buying, that does at some point affect transportation and trucking,” Molina said. “If this lasts through the summer, it will definitely impact those businesses. They may be the least impacted when it comes to our partners, but they will still need to brace for it.”
Another concern is the protection of drivers, many of whom share vehicles. Especially since many trucking companies do not provide hand sanitizer or sanitation wipes, that often falls on truckers to purchase themselves. To date, according to Molina, there has been no standard set as far as regulating cleanliness and protecting against the spread of germs in trucks.
“Many of our customers have maintenance shops, so they’re also concerned about keeping workstations clean, and equipment clean and sanitized,” Molina said. “Logistics, as an industry, is up and running, so people are still coming in contact with each other.”
The greatest concern among everyone in trucking, however, has to do with the first stop on any route – the ports.
“People are worried about the possibility of ports closing, places like Long Beach and Los Angeles,” Molina said. “The majority of trucking in southern California starts at the ports, and if truck drivers and companies can’t pull merchandise and containers from these ports, that’s a problem. It seems unlikely, but it’s still something people are talking about.”
OPPORTUNITIES IN TRUCKING & LOGISTICS
As truckers continue to stay on the road and away from their families, Molina said, the greatest opportunity he sees has little to do with business but rather showing appreciation.
“Personally, my dad is a truck driver, so I know all these guys in transportation and logistics, they’re definitely sacrificing to keep goods and commodities in our stores and in our communities,” he said. “I think they’re the unsung heroes of what’s going on right now. Masks, toilet paper, all of that can’t get to the store if there are no truck drivers. They’re showing up and they’re doing their jobs. I think a lot of people should thank them for doing that work.”
Contact an SCL Consultant today
In a wide range of automotive, industrial and commercial sectors, SCL remains steadfast on its commitment to product and industry knowledge, performance satisfaction and superior logistics. We protect and optimize the machines that keep our country moving. For more information on how we help can help with services including bulk purchasing or managing inventory, contact an SCL expert today.