The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected almost all the sectors of the economy with the hospitality and the transportation industry being hit the most. The global supply chain has been affected severely due to it and there is a clear downfall in manufacturing, exports, and overall global commerce. To top it all, the pandemic is clearly testing the logistics and transportation network.
Amid the Corona outbreak, the fleet businesses are changing the way they used to work. While many states have enforced rules to stay at home, transportation, field service, energy workers, utility service workers, and many other fleet businesses continue to operate as they come under essential services.
The U.S Congress has taken some strong steps to stabilize the economy, strengthen the global supply chain, and minimize the damage to the most affected industries. The U.S Senate has finally cleared the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and a third bill is to be announced soon.
The Effect of COVID on the Transportation Industry
Corporate buyers who are waiting for goods to arrive are finding delayed delivery in delivery to their customers. The pandemic’s impacts have affected business operations on a large scale, however logistics businesses, many buyers, and various companies are doing everything possible to keep things normal.
The sudden spikes and lows in demand have made transport companies redesign their network on a real-time basis. Trucks that were moving shipments of perishable items, cleaning products and other paper goods are finding it difficult to fill the cargo trailers, leaving the carriers half empty.
Brokers arranging transportation are also facing difficulty finding pickup drivers. Moreover, the price on the spot market has realized a sudden spike and the average price for hiring a big rig has also spiked up by 12 percent since March 1, according to DAT Solutions LLC. Additional safety procedures like temperature checks or signing health affidavits are further impeding the flow of goods.
The government is Steadily behind the Trucking Industry
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has recently issued a National Emergency to provide immediate relief to commercial vehicle drivers who are involved in transporting emergency relief. The American Trucking Associations has requested the Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue guidelines for states to keep them open for commercial drivers during the crisis and to find alternatives for drivers.
Acute driver shortage issue and longer working hours
In around 27 states in the U.S, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMVs) are shut down due to the COVID -19 pandemic due to which drivers are unable to get their commercial driving learner’s permit. This is resulting in an acute shortage of trained drivers for running transportation operations. The Supply chain disruptions and pertaining to emergency delivery needs are forcing fleet companies and drivers to work for longer hours in the country.
The plight of On-the-Road drivers
The on-the-road drivers have woes of their own. They are unable to get timely food as almost all roadside eateries are closed and customers are wary of letting them in apart from the lack of sufficient sanitizers and hand wipes. The restrictions aimed at controlling the spread of deadly coronavirus have made the lives of truck drivers a difficult one.
The Digital Surge & Resilience Strategies
In the wake of COVID-19, many logistics companies in Chicago are now re-evaluating software-enabled electronic signatures as well as shipment location tracking features. Companies have become more digital-savvy due to this crisis and that in turn has forced companies to rethink supply chains. They cannot make predictions using past data and instead use real-time data to create short-term predictions.
Good Resilience is shown by Transportation companies
Transportation companies like Shamrock Express too are showing similar resolve to fight the crisis. Shamrock Express ever since its inception in 2014 has been a national player and is now a dedicated National provider of intermodal transportation services. It provides Goods Transportation services in nine cities in the country which includes services at major rail facilities and ports along the East Coast. This trucking company Ohio has strong bases in Chicago and other parts in the country and is doing everything possible to prevent delays in this time.
Other transportation companies have also started enforcing social distancing procedures as a precaution and encourage drivers to ask customers to e-sign receipt of documents. They have also started learning important lessons on building backup options for supply chains and being flexible for their business activities.
They also need to learn to rely more on global partners to deal with pandemic induced disruptions. This decentralization has enabled them to run their businesses from remote locations. Having a resilient supply chain will decide the future success of companies.
Many Chicago logistics services based companies and several others are taking the current struggle to get insights for developing broad supplier and provider bases which is great news for the transportation industry and shows our commitment to the current situation of crisis.
COVID-19 may have caught businesses unaware, however, their resilient response to the crisis inspires a lot of hope. Their learnings from this pandemic are quickly incorporated in their re-design approach and they seem battle-hardened to face a crisis of this scale.
Being a leading trucking company in Chicago and Ohio, Shamrock is committed to helping its customers with higher convenience and improved services during the current situation of crisis.