Though it certainly is a difficult time for all of us, the challenges that truckers currently face due to the COVID-19 pandemic are substantial. Truckers are on the front lines, literally keeping food, medicine and supplies moving across the country, ensuring that families, hospitals and grocery stores have what they need, all while risking possible exposure to the virus.
Trucker Tools recently surveyed truckers to learn more about their top concerns and needs during this challenging time. Of the truckers who responded to our survey, 92 percent operate 10 trucks or less. Most of those who responded to our survey reported that they drive reefer, flatbed or van trucks. We’ve summarized carriers’ responses below and have included suggestions on how you can help your carrier partners address these issues and help them stay safe, healthy and productive out there on the road.
As you know, the amount of freight moving through the supply chain has been greatly reduced because in many states, businesses and organizations that are considered non-essential are either closed or have reduced their hours. That means fewer loads for everyone, including you and truckers.
Nearly 80 percent of the truckers who responded to our survey named reduced income as one of their top challenges during the pandemic. In fact, 85 percent of those who responded have seen their hours/income decrease due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the truckers we surveyed also said that they expect the pandemic will have a long-term detrimental impact on their revenue.
Simplifying your load booking process for carriers and giving them more opportunities for reloads can help stabilize their revenue during these uncertain times. Doing so also boosts the operational efficiency of your business and helps you build positive, long term relationships with preferred carriers.
One way to achieve all of the above is to list your open loads in Trucker Tools’ Smart Capacity digital freight matching platform. When you post your open loads in our digital freight marketplace as Book-It-Now loads, carriers can search for and book your open loads at any time of day in a matter of seconds through Trucker Tools’ free driver app. Once they book the load in the driver app, the appointment is automatically scheduled in your TMS and carriers receive an automated confirmation email that includes a list of potential reload opportunities.
Approximately 60 percent of those surveyed said that risking exposure to Coronavirus is one of the top challenges they face as truckers. Forty-nine percent report that the shortage of hand sanitizer is a major challenge. The survey also found that truckers are struggling to find places to buy food and that reduced hours, services and inventory at truck stops, stores and restaurants are making life on the road more difficult than usual. Some truckers are reporting that closed rest stops and lack of restroom access at shipper and receiver facilities are problematic, as well.
If you offer Trucker Tools’ free driver app to your carrier partners, they can use the app’s Wal-Mart store locator to find nearby Wal-Mart locations where they can buy supplies and groceries and access restrooms. They also can use the app’s truck stop guide to find truck stops and to learn more about each truck stop’s hours and amenities. The driver app’s newly added COVID-19 Useful Links resource gives truckers access to relevant news and critical information from brokers, shippers, truck stops, gas stations and other sources, as well, so they always know the latest about what’s happening in the industry.
In our survey, we also asked carriers about their experiences at shipper facilities. Of the truckers surveyed, 57 percent have seen an increase in delays at shipper locations since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 70 percent of surveyed carriers are spending two to four hours at a shipper’s location, while 15 percent report that it’s taking five to eight hours to get their trucks loaded at a shipper’s location. Thirty-nine percent of all of those surveyed told us that extended shipper wait time/detention is one of the primary challenges they’re currently facing.
With Trucker Tools’ load tracking platform, you can help reduce driver detention and improve the accuracy of the ETAs that you provide to shippers. When tracking loads with our load tracking platform and companion driver app, you automatically receive real-time visibility updates every five minutes. Trucker Tools’ digital load tracking platform can be integrated with shipper visibility platforms MacroPoint, Project44, 10/4 and FourKites, which means your shippers can access the same real-time load tracking data that you can. Giving shippers access to real-time visibility data means they know exactly when trucks will arrive, which can reduce driver detention.
You also can set up detention alerts in the Trucker Tools digital freight tracking platform to further limit detention. With detention alerts enabled, you’ll receive a notification if a truck has been delayed longer than expected at a shipper location, which empowers you to contact the shipper to resolve the delay.