The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely forced all of us to adjust to a new way of living. During this crisis, it has also led to a surge in demand for goods across the country, from medical supplies to food to personal items. Fortunately, for all of us, professional truck drivers never stopped delivering.
Drivers at Veltri, Inc. and those across the country are deemed essential, and have been on the front lines of the pandemic delivering supplies to homes, businesses, hospitals, manufacturers, stores and communities.
Driver Health and Safety
One of the biggest issues during COVID-19 has been the health and safety of truck drivers. Early on, as the pandemic continued to spread across the country, states reported illnesses among truckers were on the rise. An increase in infection rates in several states took their toll and resulted in the suspension of some trucking operations.
In an effort to curtail the rise in cases, the American Trucking Associations (ATA), in partnership with Protective Insurance Company, distributed 55-gallon drums of hand sanitizer to various locations along major freight corridors. Drivers used these drums, at no cost, to refill their own personal supply bottles. The ATA also distributed 100,000 face coverings to drivers and fleets.
In addition to providing hazardous pay to its drivers, Veltri, Inc. ensured drivers had the supplies they needed, including:
- Cotton washable masks (we have a seamstress producing them)
- Cotton washable gloves
- Providing cleaning products to all our drivers
- Disinfectant/hand sanitizer
- Providing regular coaching on how to stay safe
- Practicing social distancing
- Practicing safe hygiene practices
Another negative effect as a result of the pandemic has been a shortage of drivers and fewer trucks. In an effort to get more truckers onto the roads, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration waived specific licensing regulations for three months, allowing those with a commercial learner’s permit to drive which reduced staffing shortages faced by a lot of trucking companies.
“It’s been a very big problem for us. A lot of carriers have gone out of business and the drivers are not re-entering the market,” said Michael Shaw, vice president at Veltri, Inc.
According to the ATA, 97 percent of trucking companies in the U.S. operate fewer than 20 trucks, and 91 percent have six or fewer.
“Fortunately, our business has grown with our current customer base. Some business models suffered, but ours is closely linked to on-line ordering. The ecommerce business has grown tremendously,” adds Shaw.
Advancements in Technology
Not all of the effects of COVID-19 on the trucking industry have been negative. Some have been positive effects, including technological advancements to limit physical contact.
“At Veltri, Inc. we adopted new onboarding and contactless technologies. We are also looking to adopt more technology to facilitate remote training,” adds Shaw.
Contactless and paperless technologies such as electronic payments and virtual communication between sales representatives and vendors have protected truckers and end users from the potential spread of infection. It also has helped streamline operations, making companies more efficient.
Office management within the trucking industry also has benefited from remote-work technologies such as video conferencing and virtual communications systems. It is a much easier and efficient way to communicate with vendors, employees and contractors.
“Our administrative teams, including operations, are mostly remote. While we are doing a good job with the day-to-day operations, it is more difficult to be more strategic,” adds Shaw.
Remote working has been proven to improve the work/life balance too. New driver onboarding and orientation procedures are being streamlined too, with portions of these sessions held online.
About Veltri, Inc.
Family-owned and operated for more than 40 years, Veltri, Inc. is proud to provide regional trucking services in southeastern Pennsylvania, central and southern New Jersey and Delaware. Our mission is to provide superior service to our customers and a safe, fulfilling work environment for our employees while adhering to the highest safety and ecological standards in the industry.
Our dedicated truck drivers are seasoned and well-trained, and we are proud of our driver retention rate (six-year average). We offer competitive pay, a comprehensive benefit package and our drivers are home every night.
Do you want to join one of the best trucking companies in the country? Apply here today.