The rapid spread of the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) in the United States is raising concerns about the ability to ship and deliver goods domestically as businesses are urged to shut down. New Jersey is the first state that imposed a curfew on non-essentials, many more towns followed, only to spread to specific states.
This has caused confusion and concerns among not only the trucking industry but a bigger concern for companies receiving the goods. Being that some companies are observing limited delivery times this is making it difficult for truckers to stay on a schedule. Truck drivers are having to observe what is called “driver detention” which is that the trucks are detained longer during pickups and deliveries. This cuts into the driving time which will add to shipping cost. Drivers are required to wait at grocery stores and cold storage facilities.
Stores, distribution centers, warehouses, and factories run the risk of being shut down which will cause an even bigger problem. In America a lot of our supplies had come from China, however, that has been temporarily suspended.
General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler have come up with a solution with the help of the United Auto Workers union to form a COVID-19/Coronavirus Task Force that should keep the employees safe while performing their job at many of the plants across America.
Bans are in place as of recently that will not allow a gathering of more than 10 people in 1 area and they must observe the 6 feet rule. This is making it even more frustrating for the warehouse employees and the truckers must call ahead to schedule an allotted time to load or unload.
Due to the increase in demand for essential consumer goods such as cleaning supplies, paper products, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies and can foods has dramatically increased in the second half of March. As a result, there have been many more “cold calls” which is when a trucking company has extra room in the truckload capacity and calls the manufacturing company.
Those who are hauling emergency supplies have been approved by US regulators are temporarily allowing relief from hours of service (HOS) regulations. This by no means truckers will be allowed to disconnect their electronic logging devices or get rid of their logbooks.
This should include: Medical supplies and equipment, cleaning supplies, masks, gloves, food during an emergency restock, and there are several more supplies related to temporary housing and quarantine facilities.
During the COVID-9 there are new rules for everyone regarding when we can go and where we can go. Truckers have to be able to fuel at any time and they are going to need to utilize truck stops for sleep and food. They will be allowed to do all of the above. The only change is they are able to get their food and go, there will be no dining inside the facility. The rest stops will be open for truckers must manage fatigue.