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Wise Trucking Industry Practices During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Many of the operational practices that are used to run an efficient logistics operation are the same practices that will help keep drivers safe during a pandemic.

Not only will drivers have less exposure, but employees at shipping/receiving facilities will also have less exposure. In addition, many of these suggestions will help ensure a smooth logistics operation. There are several points of the trucking operation at which modifications should be made during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shippers

  • Loads should be ready to go.
  • Shipping papers need to be complete.
  • Special instructions should be pre-written to avoid long, face-to-face conversations.
  • Drivers should not be forced to wait inside the building.
  • When the trailer is loaded, call the drivers to the shipping clerk’s window via cell phone or CB radio.
  • If possible, use drop-and-hook, rather than live load.
  • For drop-and-hook, use paperwork “drop boxes” or leave the bills in the trailer nose box.

Consignees

  • Be ready for the delivery.
  • Special instructions should be pre-written to avoid long face-to-face conversations.
  • Don’t force the drivers to wait inside the building.
  • When a door is available, call the drivers via cell phone or CB radio.
  • If possible, use drop-and-hook, rather than live unload.
  • For drop-and-hook, use paperwork “drop boxes” or leave the bills of lading (BOLs) in the trailer nose box.

Truck Stops

  • Make your restaurant a “meals-to-go only” operation. Shorten the menu if necessary.
  • Close the TV room and/or movie theater.
  • Sell canned/packaged food that can be consumed in the cab of a truck.

Trucking Companies

  • Send sick employees home.
  • Tell exposed employees to call in sick, rather than risk exposing other people.
  • Reassure employees that missing work does not put their job at risk.
  • Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to all employees, not just the employees with the greatest exposure.
  • Prioritize loads.

Be prepared:

  • to operate with many missing employees (in the office, shop/field, and drivers)
  • for extensive amounts of overtime (office workers, shop/field employees, and drivers)
  • for demand to exceed capacity
  • for some loads to not be delivered

And, Finally…

Do and keep doing the basics:

  • Clean and sanitize. Then clean and sanitize some more.
  • Practice good social distancing.
  • Keep checking for new information.
  • Change up your operations as circumstances change.

Minimizing drivers’ wait times will reduce exposure risks to drivers and facility employees. As a bonus, minimizing drivers’ wait times will increase operational efficiency.

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