Challenges of the haulage industry during this pandemic

Published: 04 May 2020

Challenges of the haulage industry during this pandemic
Supply-and-demand: Firstly, due to the circumstances many members of the public finding themselves in, either furloughed or working from home - many of us have more time available or buying products online. Whether these are essentials such as food and toiletries, or non-essentials that many are ordering for the sake of convenience. This is one of the many factors causing an increase in the need for supplies from hauliers all over the world, many of whom in the industry are putting in their best efforts to keep up with the needs of the public.

The UK government offered a statement on the implications for international transport: “International and domestic freight transport (including by air, ship, road and rail, including roll-on/roll-off transports) is classified byUK government as an essential activity in the context of its travel advice."

While this implies that there shouldn't be much disturbance within national haulage, truckers are subject to the increased demand - while also trying to overcome the heavier restrictions of movement on international haulage, leading to more challenging circumstances than any drivers could have anticipated which is likely to remain in place for a majority of the year.

Although this indicates that there should be little disruption to the international haulage space, it is of course also subject to the rapid change in customer habits and the restricted movement within the countless industries that rely on international haulage. The time consumption at borders has increased by a significant amount, which over a longer period of time will have a more significant impact on global economies.

Health and safety: There is a considerable risk for the safety of drivers. Health and safety standards are proving to be challenging to meet for many workers in any industry. With some workplaces such as warehousing taking extra precautions to ensure the social distancing standards are being met, while some firms simply do not have enough resources to correctly facilitate these demands to avoid further spread of Covid-19. Even so, for Owner Drivers moving back loads, their own upkeep while out on the road can be equally challenging - with many stores lacking items such as hand sanitizer, making them harder and harder to come across they too could have a similar challenge at hand.

Considering the significance lorry drivers have in moving goods all over the world, their health and safety is very important. As drivers keep supply-and-demand met, we are relying on their dedication to their job more so now than ever before.

Once available, it is suggested that drivers test themselves appropriately. This will become much easier once all essential workers have access and availability for regular testing to ensure their own health along with the health of others.

What next? While the future is hard to predict during the pandemic, it is difficult to imagine returning to work and daily life resuming the norm. As the research of COVID-19 continues, the more likely it becomes that some of the rules currently in place can be relaxed. 

While haulage firms involved with building facilities are seeing less goods moved, there is a constant demand for food and medical supplies - which many more drivers are finding themselves involved in during this time to continue to support their own business and dedicate their efforts to the needs of others. The best hope in the coming months is that the government and businesses can cooperate to find an efficient means of organising drivers and other workers in logistics.
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