The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a new set of challenges to the trucking industry. We should all be aware of the fact that the whole nation relies on trucks as the core of their supply chain. Both food and medical supply are delivered by trucks so it is more important than ever that this keeps functioning and to make sure that the goods get delivered in a timely manner.
With this being said, truckers are more exposed than others to the virus. Even though there is less traffic on the roads the truckers have to get out and unload the goods wherever necessary. There are numerous moments during the loading of goods, while goods are transported from place A to place B and also when being unloaded once they reach their final destination that pose a risk to the truckers themselves. They spend a lot of time in their trucks and the anxiety surrounding the pandemic is affecting them more and more as the situation gets progressively more dramatic.
Truckers also struggle to find places where they can make stops safely. More often than not they report that they are unsure of how safe they are during these stops. An ever-increasing effort needs to be made to ensure the safety of the truckers while they carry out their work. If their level of anxiety due to concerns regarding their immediate health increases, the way that they carry out business may be affected in the near future. If this happens, their becoming fragile will impact both the supply chain and as such the entire economy.
Although the availability of tests for the corona virus are limited, truckers should be provided with them by all means considering what a necessary asset they are to the functioning of our every day lives. Even though the crisis may get worse truckers absolutely need to keep trucking, so there have to be measures taken to ensure their safety. Additionally, enough stops and all safety precautions at the stops need to be ensured so as to minimize anxiety.
While fueling stations and showers remain open some things like driver lounges and self-service dining areas have closed .The regulations depend from state to state. For example, some truck stops have kept their dining services but have limited the number of truckers allowed. Some have remained completely open to truckers but have increased their precautions and housekeeping and sanitary services.
Although some truck stops have closed, they are being urged to remain open as truckers rely on them for showers, rest rooms, meals, drinks…etc. They need to up safety precautions by putting up plastic shields and by wearing gloves since there are hundreds of truckers they come in contact with. Disinfecting the facilities numerous times a day and providing antibacterial to guests is also a good idea.
Drivers themselves also obviously play a part in minimizing the risk of contamination. They have to disinfect their trucks and spray the interior before and after the drive. At the places where they can purchase prepackaged food, they must always have their face masks and on gloves whilst making these purchases. They need to keep the suggested distance between themselves and other truckers as well as between themselves and the staff at the stops. Having their own antibacterial with them at all times is advised. Keeping updated with news about the pandemic is a must, but drivers should be advised to balance it with ways to keep anxiety at bay, keeping things like music, podcasts and literature that they find relaxing at hand in their trucks.
It is estimated the virus will cause further disruptions throughout the year and the first half of 2021 not only to truck drivers themselves but directly to the economy as truck plants close, businesses go into bankruptcy and a drop in demand of freight in general comes about. The fact that a new wave of the virus is not out of the question, and the fact that if it happens it is believed that it will harder than the first, the entire economy will be unstable and endure a severe drop that will last some time before it picks up again. This is a reality we will have to face with patience and maturity, preparing to do everything in our power to pick up where we left off as swiftly and promptly as possible, as well as do everything we can to stay safe and minimize the spreading of the virus until then.
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