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HDT’s Newsmaker of the Year: COVID-19 Pandemic

The USA’s truck drivers were a key segment of the logistics tell posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering the entirety from urgent scientific affords to bathroom paper. 

Characterize: UPS

It wasn’t laborious for our physique of workers to agree on the COVID-19 pandemic as our first HDT Newsmaker of the Year. Even sooner than we dug into our web page visitors statistics, there used to be little doubt that the contemporary coronavirus used to be the memoir we had lined essentially the most, that our target audience had consumed essentially the most voice material about, and that had essentially the most profound results on the trucking industry.

Our first memoir got here in early March, “Trucking Prepares as First Results of Coronavirus Hit Port Trucking Hardest.” As China battled the virus, container imports coming into the West Fly ports were down greatly. Our reporting at the time concluded by pronouncing, “It remains to be seen honest how severe any financial lumber will be – and the procedure in which deeply into the North American interior the disease and its associated financial impact will attain.”

Ravishing a couple of weeks later, it used to be initiating to change into clear that the impact would be profound. The Federal Motor Provider Security Administration issued its first-ever nationwide emergency relief exemption, for fleets hauling coronavirus relief affords, collectively with food and quite rather a lot of affords for emergency restocking of retail outlets, as alarm-purchasing led to shortages of loo paper, meat, hand sanitizer, and quite rather a lot of affords. That exemption, with some adjustments on what freight is exempt, is still in plan at the contemporary time and honest recently used to be prolonged till the discontinue of February.

Since these first couple of articles, we’ve lumber hundreds of tales, webinars, podcasts, blogs, and additional on the impact of the contemporary coronavirus on trucking.

Because the nation started shutting down in mid-March, we started reaching out to fleets to search out out how they were being affected. We reported on the cancellation and postponement of industry events, collectively with our bear. We started a special page dedicated to COVID-19 resources, similar to authorities exemptions and closing date extensions and advice from the Amenities for Disease Resolve an eye on and Prevention. We shared within the nation’s appreciation for an navy of truck drivers, accessible delivering wished items, going by most likely an infection with bandanas for masks and residence made hand sanitizer, unable to have a scorching sit down-down meal as restaurants were closed down by refuge-in-space orders. A series of like a flash surveys allowed us to file on and note how the industry used to be being affected.

We set collectively webinars offering insight from fleets, financial consultants, regulatory consultants, and additional. Our Could also veil memoir featured tales from fleets about how they were facing the pandemic. We heard about challenges to in finding hand sanitizer, developing procedures for what sick drivers wished to plan, scuffling with virus unfold in upkeep retailers, and facing surging freight – or pivoting when industry all but disappeared.

Special-file episodes of the HDT Talks Trucking podcast interviewed drivers about their experiences on the road at some level of the peak of the pandemic within the spring, and one couple’s memoir of contracting COVID-19 on the road.

The COVID shutdowns wreaked havoc on the economy and tons trucking fleets felt the pinch – even supposing that impact assorted tremendously looking out on the freight hauled. Truck makers supplied special financing. The CARES Act and PPP loans helped some fleets.

By June, states were reopening their economies and trucking freight and stipulations were having a seek recordsdata from larger. Nonetheless existence used to be still removed from customary. Provide chains were scrambled, leading to skyrocketing predicament rates by the discontinue of the summer.

Because the pandemic has continued, the industry has innovated and made adjustments that can doubtless final effectively previous this crisis. Trucking corporations have dilapidated technology to enable folk to earn a living from residence, to plan some distance-off driver practising, to make a extra touchless atmosphere for drivers with electronic bills of lading and quite rather a lot of paperless alternatives. Fleets are handling great of the onboarding of contemporary drivers virtually, and finding it extra efficient and glorious.

As we end to the discontinue of 2020, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are surging. We’ve been writing about the significance for fleets and drivers now to no longer let their guard down in preserving themselves and others, about the upcoming logistics tell of distributing COVID-19 vaccines, and where, as “well-known workers,” truckers will be in line in phrases of getting these vaccines.

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