The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t only a threat to human health but also to the economy. For many people, the impact has been disastrous as jobs have been lost and businesses have closed. For the trucking industry, however, the effects have been less clear cut. In some ways, in fact, the virus has actually created more demand for transportation services.
The transportation industry is facing extreme challenges. Supply chain disruptions and nationwide emergency delivery needs are causing fleet managers, dispatchers and drivers to work longer hours, while hauling in other areas, such as restaurant supply and equipment for live events, has ceased. And according to the article in Heavy Duty Trucking, drivers are struggling to protect their health while out on the road.
On the other hand, the virus has actually created more demand for transportation in certain sectors. Grocery stores are still open and many customers are stockpiling items such as toilet paper and staples. Amazon and other online retailers have actually seen increases in sales. People stuck in their homes under lock down are ordering lots of items they would have normally picked up in person. Even when stores such as Walmart are open to the public, many customers feel safer ordering online. Thus, demand has increased for many physical products.
Trucking companies have either been helped or harmed by COVID-19, depending on which sectors they serve. Of course, even some experiencing a boom are facing challenges as they struggle to keep up with a surge in demand. It’s safe to say that just about all businesses are currently dealing with an unusual and difficult situation. The fact that no one knows how long the pandemic will last makes it all the more unsettling.
There is little doubt that once the crisis starts to subside and economic activity starts back up again, there will be a sudden upswing in the demand for transportation and trucking services.