During this COVID 19 pandemic, the trucking industry is facing many complications. Challenges to move goods using key supply chains and components are compromising deliveries. Transport challenges that van and flatbed trucking carriers. This holiday season has added a strain on flatbed transportation carriers throughout the nation.
Staple goods like toilet paper and others are hard to keep on the shelves so that strategic supplies can be moved to hospitals and health care providers as needed. These goods need to be moved as part of this essential operation. Some manufacturers such as auto production facilities shifted their production lines to manufacture personal protective supplies.
Van and flatbed transportation companies shifted priorities to move these essential goods explaining the empty shelves for other more staple items at stores across the nation. As this latest type of supply map was accepted as the new normal flow of goods; responsibilities, assets, personnel, and processes were balanced in everyday changes to accomplish this new normal needed to fight back the pandemic.
The best managers that can adapt to these changes will survive all others that may be more intelligent or stronger.
2020 Holiday Supply Chain Volatility for Van and Flatbed Freight Companies
Now that the current vaccines are ready to be distributed across the nation the supply chain will be stretched thin even more. It is not helping that the shortage of drivers is in the tens of thousands as compared to 2019 numbers and the CDL licensing offices are closed along with the training schools. Factories that are continuing to reopen may be forced to shut down once more due to the return of high virus incidents.
Normally van and flatbed trucking services have drivers and equipment in surplus to manage spikes in the supply chain flow during these holidays. The imbalance that the pandemic goods priority is forcing on the transport lanes is dampening the supply chain flow. Capital investments that were exercised during the Trump bump tax cuts by van and flatbed freight companies enable them to buy new equipment and entice drivers with higher salaries.
Freight rates standard and flatbed hauling are raising through the roof with the demand being prioritized to fit the pandemic supply chain. This is a win for the trucking industry but only for the short term.
The ability to flex spontaneously during changes in the supply chain are being lost as drivers are working nonstop. Losing drivers that cannot be rehired because of increased drug and alcohol testing and the related suspensions is also putting a safe but dampening effect on the number of available drivers in the carrier pool.
Now that the virus is on an uptick the hoarding of goods will start again, showing empty shelves for certain goods once again. On the positive side increased freight rates will make increased salaries for drivers that can comply and attract new carriers to the industry.