The COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic continues to spread across the United States and the world, and the impact has been seen in just about every industry. The global supply chain has been the subject of much greater attention than normal lately, as there have been issues with majorly increased demand for some industries and products with massive declines in manufacturing and exporting in others.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the ways COVID-19 has specifically impacted logistics companies in Minnesota and beyond:
- National emergency: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a national emergency declaration, which gave hours-of-service regulatory relief to drivers of commercial vehicles who were transporting emergency relief supplies as a response to the outbreak. This declaration offers that relief for commercial motor vehicle operations that are directly assisting relief efforts.
- Closures: Some states have closed all rest areas and welcome centers, which has caused some strife among truckers who are still required to be out on the roads delivering products. The American Trucking Associations called on the Department of Transportation to submit guidance to states to keep these sites open for commercial drivers during the pandemic.
- Safety: Drivers have found themselves having to navigate some extra hurdles when they arrive at their destinations. Some report having to fill out COVID-19 exposure forms before they’re allowed onto the property where they are making their delivery. Other places will not even allow drivers to come in to use the bathroom.
- Rule changes: Other organizations and unions representing truck drivers or trucking companies have appealed to the federal government for additional assistance. Some have asked for the suspension of certain rules, including suspending the need for some types of safety inspections and drug screening. Others have asked for direct financial assistance to be able to maintain or increase operations in areas where there has been increased demand.
- Traffic: One positive consequence of the current situation for truckers is that the roads are clearer than they’ve ever been, which has allowed for speedier shipments in some cases. An analysis of GPS data by the American Transportation Research Institute saw trucks were able to quickly make it through areas that normally see traffic slow down to a crawl. Even rush-hour times see trucks speeding through to get to their destinations quickly. This, at the very least, makes for a less frustrating experience for truckers who are out on the road in their COVID-19 relief capacities.
- Long-term analysis: While there has been an initial boom in the shipping and logistics industries due to the need to get products out to cleared-out stores and shopping centers, experts and analysts say there could be some long-term suffering if the economy continues to decline. With people stocking up on certain goods, they’re not going to need to continue purchasing them in as large of numbers, or even at all, meaning spending will regress to the mean or below.
For more information about some of the effects COVID-19 is having on trucking and shipping, we encourage you to contact our logistics company in Minnesota today.