COVID-19 has impacted nearly every industry. Transportation has been affected in an interesting way. Some areas of transportation, such as travel and public transport, have been virtually nonexistent throughout the pandemic. Meanwhile, trucking and logistics companies have had to radically shift their operations to compensate for how people are now living their lives. The supply chains for many industries that everyday Americans rely upon would have been completely disrupted if the trucking and logistics industry had ceased their operations.
Here’s how COVID-19 has impacted the transport industry — and the changes that companies within the transport industry can expect in the future.
Significant Changes to the Transport Industry Because of the Pandemic
A significant amount of transportation deals with, of course, people; travel transportation and public transportation. Planes, trains, cruise ships, and boats all found themselves unable to function during COVID-19. This went on far longer than most thought, which deeply affected the profitability and margins for these companies.
At the same time, trucking and logistics have seen a dramatic increase in deliveries, as supply chains have dramatically shifted. People started purchasing groceries more than going out to restaurants, which made it so that the entire infrastructure had to be shifted. Companies were no longer distributing as much to major hubs and were now doing significantly more last-mile deliveries. Making this even more complicated was that the US Postal Service was also seeing increased delays and issues keeping up with logistics.
The transport industry had to change some practices during COVID-19, and although trucking companies and their employees are not considered “font-line workers,” they were designated as “essential workers.” This is due to the heavy reliance upon their services by many other essential businesses such as grocery stores, hospitals, pharmacies, municipal services, and utilities, to regularly receive the supplies they need in order to keep the public safe and healthy. Without the continual, and even increased, functions of the supply chains that the trucking industry maintains, the chaotic results of the pandemic would have been much worse.
What Are Potential Long-Term Changes?
COVID-19 is likely to be over by the end of the year. But that doesn’t mean that those changes go away. There will likely be long-lasting changes to the transport industry — changes that companies within the industry will need to be mindful of.
First, it’s likely that COVID-19 is not the last pandemic that will ever occur. Transportation companies need to keep in mind that they have to have the ability to quickly reduce person to person interaction in the future; they may even need to repeat the behaviors cultivated in the pandemic. That requires taking precautions now so these processes can run more smoothly in the future. Many companies have had the sobering realization that these types of shutdowns could become the “new normal” and that there have to be processes to reduce or eliminate risk.
For the foreseeable future, the public transport industry is likely going to see significantly reduced revenue. This reduced revenue means that transportation companies may need to become leaner and more efficient and may need to refrain from expanding. Companies that deal primarily with in-person transport or transporting to in-person venues are going to be less likely to be able to function.
For companies operating with in the specialized transport industry, offering heavy haul trucking and fulfilling the needs of modern supply chains, there will likely be a growing need for their services. As modern America relies upon the quick delivery of goods and materials across large distances, the existence of professional and reliable specialized transport organizations will ensure the health and success of many across the country.