How COVID-19 is impacting the freight industry (and what we can do to move supplies faster)

Mar 29, 2020
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Mar 29, 2020

We all saw the empty aisles and mad rush to grab that last roll of toilet paper on grocery shelves this past week.

People will demand more goods. And the quickest and most flexible way to move things is on trucks.

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This past week, we saw both inbound and outbound tender volumes spike by nearly 27%.

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In addition, the volume of loads rejected for both inbound and outbound journeys was up by more than 15% (even higher for refrigerated loads). This is an indicator that there is significantly more demand in the system (goods to move such as groceries and medical supplies) than supply (trucks + drivers) to move them.

The impact on drivers and trucking companies:

Despite all the shelter in place orders and work from home mandates, two groups of workers bravely continue to show up to work and risk exposure, truck drivers and warehouse workers. Unfortunately the average driver is 55 years old, and as the pandemic spreads, fewer drivers will be able to get on the road.

The drivers who are on the road right now are struggling to find reliable stops for food and bathroom breaks. In addition, drivers will become more reluctant to take loads into regions of the country with higher numbers of outbreaks. This will continue to place constraints on the trucking industry’s ability to move goods across the country.

As the industry scrambles to restock and deliver goods to consumers and retail stores, wait times at warehouses have increased by as much as 30% in some locations. This a problem because with increased congestion at warehouses, the precious few trucks we have right now are being held up.

The impact on warehouse workers and shippers:

Just as logistics companies are rushing to meet demand, shippers, grocers, and supply manufacturers now scrambling to adapt their inventory to the recent surge in consumer purchasing. Many shippers are stockpiling inventory in expectation of demand volatility but most are short on space and labor.

Like drivers, dock workers didn’t get the work from home mandate. Infected workers are asked to stay home along with anyone they came into contact with during their shift, forcing warehouses to adopt procedures to minimize worker exposure. For example, warehouses are sterilizing docks and equipment several times a day and asking drivers to leave loaded trailers off-premise to avoid contact.

Baton can help:

  • Zero contact pick up and drop off points
  • Significantly reduced detention time for line-haul carriers, thereby freeing up long-haul assets
  • On-demand food for drivers at our lots
  • Increased throughput for warehouses
  • Excess storage capacity for shippers
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Trucking companies can minimize driver exposure by leaving and picking up fully loaded trailers at Baton drop zones located outside of metro areas. Baton drop zones are “no-contact” meaning drivers simply drop off the trailer, we sterilize all human-touch points, and we coordinate with the warehouse for the final delivery. This model also frees up line-haul trucks and drivers to make more moves rather than waiting in line at over-congested warehouses.

Baton is also providing free food deliveries at our lots to all drivers who use our service.

Warehouses can maximize throughput and simultaneously minimize exposure for their workers by implementing off-premise drop-trailer solutions. We hold loaded trailers at our lots until space is available to drop them off at warehouses. This reduces congestion, increases predictability of appointments so warehouses can increase throughput, and allows shippers to store excess inventory in trailers off-prem.

Feeling these pains? We’d love to help. Baton has live operations in LA, Atlanta, and Chicago, and is opening more across the country to help respond to the COVID crisis.

Message us directly:

Kudos to Freightwaves for providing data in a time of uncertainty!

Andrew Berberick

Co-Founder, Baton Trucking

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