The COVID-19 global pandemic is an unprecedented health threat, and the trucking industry is taking its place in history as an essential service during this crisis, which is why the trucking industry cannot shut down. Through two world wars and countless natural disasters, trucks are proven to be the most versatile and efficient means of delivering supplies and equipment to their destination. During times of war and peace, crisis and prosperity, trucks have been the workhorses of the supply chain, protecting the North American way of life.
At a time when the entire world is focused on an increasing health crisis, public awareness of the critical services needed to protect our way of life is growing. Of these, trucking is on the list of essential services along with health care, the grocery industry and government services. For truck company owners already challenged by the weakened state of the trucking industry, it’s a time for hard decisions and strategic planning.
Why is trucking an essential service in disease control?
Trucking is the primary form of freight transportation in the United States and Canada, moving 71% of all freight in North America. More to the point, trucking plays an essential role in health care, delivering needed supplies to aid the containment of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Essential supplies delivered by trucking companies:
- Government-approved diagnostic tests
- Heavy-duty surgical masks used by health care workers
- Lightweight masks for general public use
- Disinfectants and household cleansers
- Vaccinations (when available)
- Food, water and supplies
Over-the-road freight carriers are the backbone of the nation’s supply chain. Without the free movement of trucks, life in North America would be dramatically disadvantaged and our fight against the COVID-19 virus severely hampered. Keeping trucks moving is not only a business need, it is now a mandated response to the global crisis.
How to operate a trucking company during a pandemic like the coronavirus
2019 was a hard year on the trucking industry with almost 800 trucking company closures and approximately 24,000 trucks removed from the nation’s capacity. Many hoped 2020 would be a turnaround year; however, the recent coronavirus outbreak has changed everything.
It is now an obligatory duty to keep the trucks delivering essential goods moving. The immediate challenge for trucking companies is twofold: managing truck driver health and safety, and maintaining a sustainable business during this volatile time of freight volume peaks and valleys.
Safe health practices for truck drivers
Truck drivers are emerging as the silent heroes in this war against the pandemic. Through their hard work and dedication, our communities remain fed, clothed, sheltered and supplied. Protecting the health of truck drivers as they crisscross the country, engage with the public and conduct business is vitally important.
Following are the basic health practices truck drivers should follow with discipline:
- Wash hands frequently and rigorously with soap and water
- Don’t touch your face
- Avoid others who are sick
- Limit close contact with others, especially at carriers’ terminals, loading docks and truck stops
- Use hand sanitizer after using touch screens at the fuel pumps or touching other metal surfaces
- Wipe down cab high-touch points with disinfectant:
- Steering wheel
- Control surfaces and dash buttons
- Door handles inside and out
- Seatbelt and buckles
- Armrests, headrests, seats and seatbacks
Truck stops are a natural location for truckers to refuel, replenish, rest and congregate. Pilot Co. and TravelCenters of America have enacted preventative measures to keep truck drivers and motorists from possibly contracting the coronavirus. Although this is a responsible action to take, truck drivers and motorists must take accountability for their own actions and consciously avoid exposure to the virus as best as possible.
Maintaining your trucking company’s cash flow
Find loads, move loads, get paid; that’s the basic business model for trucking. The laws of “supply and demand” rule the ease of finding loads and determine freight rates. During this crisis, demand is high and government exceptions have eased the burden on moving loads. The clear and present danger that remains is getting paid quickly to maintain positive cash flow.
Proper working capital management is essential to a company’s success. In periods of high demand, easy access to working capital is crucial to support rapidly accelerating operations. The commercial banking system remains unsupportive of the trucking industry, making business loans and lines of credit nearly impossible to obtain. There are some government programs available to help the trucking industry stay afloat but the resources are limited. Freight factoring offers an alternative funding option with greater benefits than bank financing.
eCapital is dedicated to providing fast and easy-to-manage funding options for trucking companies. Factoring invoices with eCapital gets you paid in 24 hours and billing and collections are handled for you, leaving you time to focus on the road.
At eCapital, we recognize the heroic efforts truckers are performing through this time of extreme crisis. From transporting life-saving medical supplies to helping restock our grocery stores, the tireless work of our nation’s trucking companies is keeping our communities stronger. We thank you for all that you do.