Throughout the country, truck drivers and logistics professionals have been deemed part of the essential workforce. Propelling supply chains forward, these truck drivers are on the front lines of keeping shelves stocked with essential goods for consumers and delivering healthcare providers the necessary supplies they need to fight COVID-19. But how is this virus, that has forced most into their homes for self-quarantine, impacting those very drivers who are the critical piece to getting supplies where they need to be?
When traveling down any stretch of major US highway, you will stumble upon a truck stop. These locations provide fueling stations, restaurants, rest areas and often time shower facilities to drivers. With the first self-service truck stop in the United States opening its doors in 1975, drivers have grown to rely on these locations as safe places to relieve the fatigue and hunger that accompanies long hours of cross-country driving. But as COVID-19 has taken hold of public locations, truck stops, and its conjoining restaurants have begun to close especially in areas with high clusters of reported infection. This has caused drivers to become hesitant to accept shipments that would take them through or to finalize in the states that this has impacted the most such as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington, New York and others. Pennsylvania has been extremely affected by this as the state is a hub for manufacturing and distribution centers servicing not only the northeast but the entire country. Because of the decline in tender acceptance in this area, PDOT reported Wednesday that it would reopen 10 rest areas for truck parking in order to help boost drivers ease. They would also be providing portable toilets that would be cleaned daily to accommodate drivers stopping at these areas instead of traditional truck stops.
Pilot Flying J and TravelCenters of America (TA), two of the nation’s largest truck-stop chains, both have committed to remaining open. They have shifted their restaurants to to-go style service and have posted increased protocols around the disinfecting and cleaning of their communal areas and restrooms in order to keep drivers as safe and healthy as possible. Also last week, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association released a letter requesting the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrant to call for states to ensure truck-stops remain open. Appealing for this directive to be put in place, the letter expressed, “For professional drivers, rest areas aren’t simply places to purchase snacks and beverages from vending machines—they are invaluable locations to rest when fatigued”.
Time will tell how many truck-stops and rest areas will remain closed as the countries essential goods are in the highest of demand. Axle Logistics is committed to helping drivers not only be matched with shipments but to route them in order to make their drive as efficient and resourceful as possible. Axle and the logistics community appreciate and respect the hard work these drivers put in each and every day and are doing our best to make their lives as easy as possible during this unprecedented time.
For more information on shipments, market conditions and industry directives, be sure to visit www.axlelogistics.com or call 888—440-1888.