COVID 19 Industry News
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In times of chaos, the American Freight Brokerage and Logistics industry steps up!!
The freight brokers, freight agents, logistics professionals, shippers, warehouse operators, dispatchers, and most importantly, truck drivers have stepped up to provide an orchestrated effort to ensure the safety and well being of our country.
This week, the heroic efforts of the American trucking and logistics industry should be obvious to anyone that walks into a store one day and sees empty shelves, only to come back the next day and find them filled again. This happened to me a few times this week. From my family, thank you.
Here at Freight Broker911, we have been taking the COVID-19 story very seriously for months now, mostly because we have been monitoring how it has impacted cargo flows and economic data.
Whether it was the NBA suspending its season, Tom Hanks being diagnosed with COVID-19, or Donald Trump’s, primetime address to the nation, reality seemed to set in for everyone.
Freight Brokers shift trucking capacity to “essential” sectors
Shipping Companies offer flexible dock appointments, waived service fees as demand soars. Under the pressure of sudden spikes in demand for goods ranging from hospital gear to toilet paper and groceries, many truckers and shippers are seeking the trucking capacity needed to keep inventory moving during prolonged Covid-19 shutdowns.
The impact of the pandemic has created massive challenges in freight yards and warehouses, where many facilities struggling with coronavirus conditions have cut their staffing levels and reduced operating hours at loading and receiving docks, according to Milton L. Collier, founder and CEO of Freight Broker 911 LLC.
Those conditions come at the same time as a massive demand surge by panicked consumers, as Trucker Tools says it has seen a nearly 25% increase in the number of loads tracked on its platform this month. Together, those conditions are creating additional challenges for truck scheduling and transit times. “It’s a difficult time for everyone, from health care workers on the front lines, to brokers working from home arranging shipment of urgent goods, and truckers trying to make pickups or deliveries where access to shipper locations is changing daily.
The turbulence in freight flows triggered by Covid-19 quarantines has hit various sectors in different ways, with some “essential” industries seeing two-fold increases or more in demand for dry van trucking capacity, while others have seen a decline leaving businesses almost completely idle.
In response, players throughout the industry have been hustling to reposition trucking capacity from slower industries—like automotive and retail—to those that are suddenly seeing huge demand, such as food and beverage or cleaning supplies.
But even logistics professionals say it is tough to make those changes happen overnight. For example, the ability to make an appointment to pick up or drop off a load at a certain hour becomes more difficult when a facility is receiving twice its normal volume, especially when new drivers are not accustomed to serving those lanes.
Under those trying conditions, the best-run warehouses are offering amenities like vending machines and bottled water, which are simple items that many drivers are having a tough time getting in a time when many truck stops and restaurants have been closed in efforts to stop the virus.
The solution requires flexibility by both sides in areas such as scheduling dock loading appointments. But even that goal can hard to reach when large truck fleets often communicate through complex technology like transportation management system (TMS) software, while owner/operators may still use basic cell phones.
In such a highly fragmented industry, there is no blueprint for solving this unprecedented challenge except offering more flexibility, said Milton Collier. “Whether you’re communicating by telephone to a small guy or via TMS to a larger carrier, you have to be willing to be all over the map,” “Flexibility is the answer; unless you’re able to use the array of types and sizes and communication channels that these guys use, then you won’t be effective for the carrier or the shipper.”