The current epidemic with COVID-19 has caused many challenges, but according to the Wall Street Journal, one of the biggest challenges yet may transpire, which is that it is threatening disruptions to the trucking industry in the supply chain.
Truckers are trying to navigate growing challenges on highways and at loading docks as they seek to keep supply chains running to meet surging coronavirus-driven demand for consumer staples and medical equipment.
Truck-stop restaurants in some states have shut dining rooms and switched to takeout service to comply with health orders aimed at controlling the spread of the virus. On Tuesday, Pennsylvania closed its state-run rest stops, cutting back significant parking space along key logistics corridors.
Some customers are asking drivers to stay in their trucks or switch from paper to electronic methods to document pickups and deliveries, trucking companies and freight brokers said. Additionally, some trucking companies said their drivers are facing new restrictions at receiving docks if they have been in states considered coronavirus hot zones.
“Some of the shippers and receivers are asking drivers to sign affidavits that they are not sick,” said Linda Allen, owner of Hardcore Trucking, a trucking company based in Spring Hill, Fla., that hauls refrigerated loads.
“They are not allowed to use the restroom, not allowed to use the building,” Ms. Allen said. “They don’t want drivers in the facilities.”
The American Trucking Associations industry group has asked the Trump administration to exempt truckers delivering essential goods from travel and other restrictions aimed at containing the pandemic. (source)
Trucking is a critical industry because it is what keeps the country unified and functioning. If the trucks were to stop rolling, for whatever reason, the United States would cease to function in three days because she could not get the products she needs to critical locations.
There will never be a trucker “strike” in the US because if there was, the Army would step in and take over. That is why so many men in the Army are trained to be truck drivers, as it is emergency planning preparation in case of this situation.
We are looking at a similar situation right now as the COVID-19 epidemic spreads, and if truckers are unable to make deliveries because of it, the government may mobilize the Army to do it. If this happens, the nation is objectively in serious trouble.
As it concerns the truckers, many of them are very brave people who are working through this situation, as they are vulnerable to the disease because of the nature of their work. It is men such as they who are true social heroes, as they are the gears keeping the social machine turning.