Freight volume has declined significantly as non-essential businesses, including retail and auto industries, have been shut down for most of April and May to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Amidst this environment, carriers continue to work tirelessly to haul and deliver essential goods around the country. However, business is far from usual.
While some have struggled in this volatile market amid declining freight volumes, others have adapted to the changing needs of customers. At Transfix, we take great pride in working with exceptional carriers who have stepped up during the pandemic, and we want to celebrate those who have stood by their drivers and workers to help them work safely.
Below are the initiatives some of our carriers have taken to keep business running during this difficult time.
Purchase Personal Protective Equipment and Sanitary Supplies
Many shippers and facilities have started to require carriers to wear masks and other PPE while handling their shipments. Carriers such as Brown Trucking Company and A&S Kinard – a Day and Ross Company – have been proactive and distributed protective equipment for their drivers in order to keep drivers safe and ensure they can still take on freight. “PPE has been ordered and received by our drivers. We have been able to stay on top of the issue to meet customer requirements,” said Doug Riesberg, VP Sales and Marketing at Brown Trucking Company.
A&S Kinard has formed a special task force to purchase and distribute PPE and sanitation supplies to meet the needs across the organization. “Based on availability, we are aiming to maintain an inventory that supplies all of our facilities in the US and Canada with…hand sanitizer, sanitizer wipes, gloves, disposable surgical masks and reusable cotton masks,” said Chris Salvage, President of A&S Kinard.
Transfix is also helping our nation’s truckers by partnering with Truckers Emergency Assistance Responders (T.E.A.R.), a 501(c)3 charity, to donate masks and dried goods to truckers at rest stops along I-15 in Nevada.
Restrict Entry to Trucking Facilities
In order to adhere to social distancing guidelines, carriers are restricting the number of people entering and leaving trucking facilities to only those that are essential to completing a load. They are also complying with the guidelines at shippers’ facilities.
A&S Kinard no longer permits consultants onsite unless they gather approval from leadership.
Additionally, they have actively discouraged visitors from entering their trucking facilities. However, if a visitor does want to enter, President Salvage says they are “required to complete a health & travel questionnaire before entry,” to keep everyone at the facility safe, to allow for proper contact tracing, and to make sure visitors are not coming from hotspot areas.
Clean and Disinfect Trucks and Facilities
Given the nature of how easily COVID-19 can spread, carriers are going above and beyond with more regular cleanings in facilities and on trucks as an extra precaution to keep workers safe. Carriers are cleaning common areas such as lunch rooms, meeting rooms, and bathrooms to prevent the transmission of the virus.
Truck drivers are also making efforts to clean their work areas. “Drivers are encouraged to regularly clean their truck, especially frequently touched items [such as] door handles, steering wheels, parking brakes, ELDs, wipers as well as phones or tablets,” said President Salvage of A&S Kinard.
Maintain Strong Partnerships with Shippers
“The current…environment is far from rational,” mentioned Riesberg of Brown Trucking Company. Given the fluctuating market as a result of the pandemic, the relationship between carrier and shipper has become more important than ever. Shippers need carriers to move their freight, and carriers need shippers to keep their businesses going.
In these times, carriers are relying on their strong relationships with shippers despite the current market conditions. This experience has helped them identify who their best partners are during turbulent conditions, and who they want to continue doing business with once the pandemic passes. Riesberg mentioned that fortunately, “most customers are being reasonable [and understanding]…[It’s the] actions that are occurring today [that will guide] decisions about where to allocate capacity [in the future].” Thus, it is crucial for carriers and shippers to act as partners to weather this storm together.
Overall, the highest priority of Transfix and our carriers is the health and well-being of the people who work for us and the people we serve. As essential businesses, carriers are vital to making sure people have access to goods. Recognizing this responsibility, many carriers have risen to the occasion and been proactive about keeping their facilities and employees safe so they can continue to move freight.
If you are a carrier, please refer to the guidance provided by the World Health Organization as well as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on how to keep your business safe for your employees and customers.