Trucking Industry Shakes Off Pandemic Impact
BusinessDon Tran

In the United States, the commercial transportation and logistics industry has been dealt a heavy blow from the pandemic. But there have been some positive changes for the industry as well.

The decrease in foreign imports as well as a drop in consumer spending have hurt shipping lines. Demand for medium to heavy duty trucks has dropped by 40 percent. And as the economy recovers, only a certain percentage of those who were laid off will be returning to work.

But CEO of IRC Freight Solutions, Spencer Smith, says his company hasn’t been fazed by the temporary fallout. He’s taking the approach of focusing on the long term impacts of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, like market shifts.

“Rather than a decrease in the market or an increase in the market, we’re going to see a lot of changes in the market,” he said. “So we’re going to see a lot of changes in shipping lanes and the way that supply chains are being run and thusly, the way trucking is moving those supplies from point A to point B.”

According to Smith, the need to avoid a second virus outbreak has actually prompted a technology boost for the industry. “They’re starting to use technology finally, which is something they should have done years ago,” he said.

Robotics and autonomous technologies are now being used in warehouses and fulfillment centers across the United States.

Smith says the CCP virus pandemic has made the trucking industry more efficient. “In some cases, these workflows have actually improved the efficiency in these shippers which is, again, much needed,” he said.

Smith said the recent push toward manufacturing more goods domestically will lead to a decrease in freight shipments entering ports, and a change in shipping lanes.