The coronavirus pandemic has affected almost every aspect of our lives. From social activities to the economy, there are few areas that the pandemic has not touched. Due to the pandemic’s economic changes, more people than ever before began buying the necessities of life online. This is due in part to people’s hesitancy to go out in public and expose themselves to the virus, and in part, people were unable to find the consumer products they needed in their local stores.
Imroj Singh, a trucking entrepreneur, describes the increased need for trucking companies due to the pandemic and how this industry is adapting to help people get the goods they need for their daily lives.
How the Pandemic Moved Retail Online
The pandemic has forever changed online shopping. Many people worldwide have come to rely on online shopping as a way of getting their everyday necessities. Previously, people mainly bought these items in stores while shopping online for less-essential items.
In the United States, e-commerce sales have skyrocketed in comparison to a year ago. E-commerce is up 32.1 percent since the fourth quarter of 2019. This accounts for all of the increased sales that have been a result of the coronavirus. It is interesting to see that while consumer spending as a whole went down, online spending jumped.
Increased Demand for Trucking Services
The need for trucking companies has skyrocketed during COVID. Transportation workers are considered essential personnel, and they are continually working to remedy supply chain disruptions while helping with the nationwide need for emergency deliveries.
More truckers have also been needed to deliver essential doses of the coronavirus vaccine to sites across the country. In particular, the Pfizer vaccine must be shipped at extremely low, sub-Arctic temperatures to remain fresh and usable. Trucks needed to be outfitted with the proper refrigeration equipment to make this happen. Trucking and freight companies rose to the challenge and have already delivered millions of precious vaccine doses to every state.
Since people eat at home so much more than before the pandemic, grocery stores are doing a brisk business. Grocery stores need more trucks to supply them with an increased amount of food. Many trucking companies that had not been involved in the grocery industry were pressed into service.
Large retailers like Walmart and Amazon have shipped vast amounts of consumer goods during 2020. This included groceries, personal care items, paper products, apparel, and other necessities. It became increasingly difficult for consumers to get their hands on paper products, disinfectants, and other cleaning supplies, as well as personal protective equipment. Truckers did all they could to help people get the supplies they needed.
Industry Suppliers Affected
While the grocery and consumer products industries soared during the pandemic, other industries fell flat due to early economic closures. This resulted in a lower demand for truckers in some industries. Numerous orders for industrial products were canceled, and truckers who hauled loads for industrial, automotive, and chemical shipments saw a significant decline in their business.
Federal Stimulus Packages
The CARES Act of 2020 had a positive impact on the trucking industry as a whole. This act included the Paycheck Protection Program, a loan for small businesses meant to shore up businesses’ ability to keep their employees during the pandemic. These stimulus packages helped many trucking companies to retain their drivers despite economic pressures.
Also, the Federal Reserve lowering interest rates had a stimulating effect on the economy. This means that the trucking industry’s problems were not going to last long. As the economy began to recover from the early impact of COVID shutdowns, the trucking industry rebounded as well.
The Strain on Individual Truckers
Truckers needed to take more routes due to the coronavirus. They bravely exposed themselves to the virus all over the country as they delivered essential items. The advent of the coronavirus vaccines in December 2020 was heralded as the beginning of a new era in dealing with the disease. As essential workers, truckers will be prioritized for the vaccine.
Understanding How Trucking Impacts the Economy
Trucking is an inextricable part of the American economy. Without trucking, none of our retail stores would have the items they need to stay in business. Truckers also haul industrial loads, helping to keep our economy going.
Truckers have become increasingly important during the COVID pandemic and have stepped up to meet increasing expectations and demand. Often risking their health by working during the pandemic, truckers have become known as essential workers who are instrumental to keeping our economy running.
While not all facets of the trucking industry have experienced growth during the COVID pandemic, the increased traffic in consumer goods and food has helped to shore up the state of the industry as a whole.
Imroj Singh wants people to know that truckers have been doing all they can to keep the American economy running normally. They will continue to help the economy recover during 2021 and in the years to come.