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The coronavirus continues to have a devastating impact on the economy while changing the lives of countless people across the world. The domestic trucking industry hasn't been immune to the effects of the rapid spread of COVID-19, as only 82% of the commercial trucking industry is operating at normal capacity in the United States.
The global transportation industry has felt the impact of the COVID-19 virus in multiple waves, as it initially began in January with the closure of Chinese factories. The next wave included the rise in demand for consumables, such as bottled water, canned food, and baby wipes. The most recent surge consists of the need for numerous medical supplies in the healthcare industry.
Understanding the future impact of the coronavirus in the trucking industry isn't an easy task, as various predictive models continue to change daily. The ability to accurately test individuals on a mass scale, while finding effective medications to treat COVID-19, will impact on how quickly the economy will start up again.
Future changes in the transportation industry remain unclear due to the unprecedented impact of COVID-19. However, here are a few possible ways that the trucking industry will forever change from this devastating virus.
One of the most notable effects of the COVID-19 virus is the numerous stay at home orders for the vast majority of the states across the country. Countless people are working from home. Schools and colleges have been suspended or canceled for the rest of the semester.
The lack of vehicles on the road has resulted in much quicker deliveries for truck drivers, especially in high-traffic cities, such as Los Angeles and New York.
These changes in the speed of transport may continue once stay at home orders have been lifted. Some businesses may continue to allow employees to work at home to save on costs while also preventing the chance of a new wave of virus cases. This new normal, in turn, will keep traffic lighter on roadways.
The extensive shutdown of most of the economy continues to hurt small business owners the most, despite incoming stimulus packages. Most small businesses will not able to reopen their doors if they must wait many months for the virus to peak and eventually slow down.
The closure of these businesses will not only impact the economy but also result in fewer goods being transported across the country. However, the recent downturn in the number of infections could make it possible for a sooner reopening of the economy, causing the business closure rate to soften.
The rapid spread of the coronavirus has dramatically changed the way people interact with each other. A greater focus on health and safety can make a huge difference in not only staying protected against COVID-19 but also from the flu and other viruses.
Avoiding close contact, washing one's hands, and regularly disinfecting rigs are (and will continue to) be seen as critical in preventing germ spread. These will all most likely become required steps for owner-operators, especially those who work for large fleets.
Continuing to practice these safety tips will not only help to prevent the future spread of viruses but also create a much healthier environment for anyone working in the transportation industry. While it may be an inconvenience in the short term, the long-term benefits are worth it.
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