How the COVID-19 Pandemic Is Impacting the U.S. Trucking Sector

The COVID-19 pandemic has already changed the world forever and there isn’t a person alive who hasn’t been affected in some sort of way. The health and safety of the American people is paramount, but keeping the economy alive and maintaining the country’s infrastructure are crucial aspects of this fight against this fast-spreading virus.

There are nearly 12 million trucks, rail cars, locomotives, and vessels that move goods over the U.S. transportation network — all of which are in jeopardy due to massive shutdowns, layoffs, and the lack of spending.

Weather is a factor in approximately 21% of U.S. auto accidents. Though trucking companies don’t have to worry too much about inclement weather this month, they do have to worry about staying in business. According to Verizon Connect, the trucking sector is facing some extreme challenges due to the coronavirus.

Supply chain disruptions, the need for emergency deliveries, and a lack of orders has caused fleet managers, dispatchers, and drivers to drastically change their ways. Some have been forced out of a job for the time being and others, the “lucky” ones, are forced to work significantly longer hours.

Thankfully, many organizations are doing everything they can to remain in business and help those in need.

“The events of the past few weeks have emphasized why we do what we do: deliver the solutions, services, and expertise that help keep drivers safe, and drive efficiencies and productivity for fleet-based businesses,” said Andres Irlando, Verizon Connect President.

The trucking industry’s ability to rely on technology has helped many organizations adapt to these changing times. The Internet of Things (IoT), for example, has played an increasingly important role in the construction of new trucks and vehicles — both for commercial and industrial use. By the end of this year, IoT will have connected more than 250 million vehicles.

According to WREX, since the demand for many products is down across the country, hundreds of service centers across the country have closed. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, new drivers aren’t even able to acquire their licensing.

“A handful of our customers have shut down their plants, which has caused a drop in demand,” added Zach Meiborg, President of Meiborg.

Additionally, for the Commercial Vehicle Training Association, an organization that licenses between 300,000 and 480,000 commercial drivers every year, they aren’t able to add any more new drivers to assist national trucking fleets.

As demand finally starts picking up once this pandemic ends (hopefully very soon), it’s important for drivers to be ready to fill that demand. It’s going to be a very busy, very stressful few months for everybody — especially the trucking industry.

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