The Coronavirus outbreak has developed a lot since the last time we wrote about how it might affect the trucking industry.
At that time, we had little information about Coronavirus because almost no one outside China had contracted it. Now, of course, Covid-19 is a full-blown pandemic and it’s shutting down the United States.
So what do you need to know and what does the future hold?
We cover all that and more below.
Coronavirus and truckstop shutdowns
You’d have to be living under a rock to not know that restaurants, schools, and all gatherings of more than 10 people are being closed or canceled for the foreseeable future.
But what is more urgent for truckers is that rest stops and truck stops around the nation are being partially or entirely shuttered.
Organizations like OOIDA are working hard to make sure that services for truckers don’t close entirely. They are reminding the United States that truck drivers being able to work effectively is key to well being of the entire nation.
But don’t think every load is an “essential supply”. In order to be considered exempt, load needs to be directly assisting in an emergency relief effort with essential supplies.
As of March 19, The FMCSA defines essential supplies as any of the following:
Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19
Supplies like masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, and disinfectants
Food for emergency restocking of stores
Equipment, supplies, and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities
Immediate precursor raw materials – such as paper, plastic or alcohol – used for the manufacture of essential items
The FMCSA definition of direct assistance does include not routine commercial deliveries or loads that are not directly being hauled for emergency relief efforts. So just because you are hauling groceries does not mean you are exempted.
Coronavirus and freight rates
According to DAT, because consumers are buying up groceries and other supplies faster than the shelves can be restocked, van rates have gone up, rather than down, in many parts of the country.
DAT predicts that while consumer demand will eventually taper off, it will probably not descend until we are well into June when rates typically spike because of produce.
Coronavirus and MATS
One of the most disheartening results of the coronavirus outbreak for our team was the cancellation of the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville Kentucky.
It was set to be held at the end of this month, and we were super excited to meet you there. It’s one of the few opportunities we get to see you face-to-face and we had lots of free stuff to give away.
But rest assured, we’ll see you at MATS in 2021!
Coronavirus and the future
For now, at least, the truck drivers are still in high demand. The future is still unclear, so we will keep updating you on how Coronavirus is affecting the trucking industry going forward.